(VOC's) Short for volatile organic compounds, VOC's include some 13,000 toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, aldehyde, benzene, and toluene, that off-gas from manmade household products and building materials lingering within our homes air. In fact, an article says that only items made entirely of steel, glass, concrete, or stone do not give off VOCs that we then breathe in. Along with irritating the eyes, nose, and throat, these hazardous chemicals can worsen asthma symptoms and cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, skin rashes, and fatigue. Prolonged exposure can harm the kidneys, liver, or central nervous system and potentially cause cancer.
Although plenty of VOCs are emitted outdoors, those chemicals can escape, whereas the VOCs given off inside the home get trapped, turning problematic. “Think about it like red dye,” Jacobs says. “If you put one drop in the ocean, it will dissipate quickly and nothing will really happens. But if you put one drop in a fishbowl, it will turn the water pink or even bright red.”
Besides VOC contamination, indoor air can also be sullied by allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, mold, or even pollen tracked in from outside. Along with hovering in the air, these pollutants accumulate in house dust. What’s more, everyday activities like cooking on a gas stove and scouring the kitchen floor conjure up gasses that can cause health problems when inhaled.