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Could VOCs be hurting your indoor air quality?

Monday, November 13, 2017   Uncategorised

 

We clean an area to make it safer and healthier, right? But what if the products you’re using could actually be harming indoor air quality?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in many cleaning products, but fortunately there are ways to avoid them when cleaning you site.

What if your cleaning products are actually part of the problem?What if your cleaning products are actually part of the problem?

What are VOCs and how do they affect indoor air quality?

VOCs are harmful gases that can be found in a range of materials, including:

  • Electronics
  • Glue and craft supplies
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Perfume
  • Hair products
  • Pressure treated wood

Scarily enough, VOCs are also commonly found in cleaning products, particularly:

  • Pine oil products
  • Odour blocking sprays
  • Stripping products such as glue removers
  • Degreasers
  • Electronics cleaners
  • Spot removers
  • Fabric and leather cleaners

If you’re all but reaching for a gas mask, relax. Scientists refer to the typical concentration of VOCs in the air we breathe as¬† ‘background levels’. Although not ideal, some exposure to VOCs can be relatively harmless.

Health threats associated with VOCs

When a person breathes in too much of these toxic gases, however, his or her health can suffer. Side effects include shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, dizziness and throat, nose and eye irritation. Over the long term, the outlook can be even more grim.¬†Several studies link VOCs to cancer in both humans and animals, and it’s not uncommon for overexposure to lead to asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

How to minimise VOCs in your site

VOC concentrations are 10 times higher inside than they are outdoors, according to the 2016 Australian State of the Environment report.

VOC concentrations are 10 times higher inside than they are outdoors.

This is bad news for just about everyone who spends the majority of their time indoors, but particularly stressful for business owner who have a responsibility to provide a safe, clean environment for their customers and staff.

Most of us work indoors - where the highest concentrations of VOCs are found. Most of us work indoors – where the highest concentrations of VOCs are found.

There are certain things that can be done, however, to minimise harmful VOCs in the workplace:

  • Read the ingredients before you buy – When you purchase things like paint, cleaning products or even printer ink, read the ingredients first. You might be surprised where VOCs are hiding.
  • Improve ventilation in your business – If VOCs are present in your site, you can at least make the air less harmful with proper ventilation. Ventilation can also keep bacteria and mould from growing.
  • Hire an environmentally certified cleaning company – If you want to be sure VOCs aren’t used in cleaning materials, hire a company like A Cleaner World that is backed with an environmental certification.

At A Cleaner World, we understand the importance of keeping your site safe and enjoyable for patrons and visitors. Further, we understand the duty professional cleaners have to our environment. That’s why we never use harmful products and always clean in a sustainable manner. To find out more, reach out to our team today.