Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) refer to organic chemical compounds that have significant vapor pressures, and that can adversely affect the environment and human health. VOCs are emitted as vapors from certain solids or liquids, and include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.

VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include asphalt, gasoline vapors, tobacco smoke, dried out floor drains, paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials (including glues and adhesives) permanent markers, and photographic solutions. More commonly known VOCs include hexavalent chromium (often used in auto repair work), benzene, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, and tetrachloroethylene.


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