4 Health Risks Caused by Exposure to VOCs


It’s understandable to wonder what is a VOC? You’ll likely encounter these three letters before you begin a painting project. Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are those which often turn into vapor or gases. As these compounds become vapor or gases, it’s often harmful to humans to breathe in these potentially dangerous emissions. Here are four dangers associated with exposure to VOCs.

  • Seeing Changes Occur to Your Skin

    Many people begin asking themselves what is a VOC after noticing odd skin changes occurring. In some cases, people will notice immediate skin changes after being exposed to VOCs. One of these effects is dealing with itching and red skin. Unfortunately, exposure to volatile organic compounds often causes people to experience symptoms similar to an allergic reaction.
  • Experiencing Nausea Accompanied by Vomiting

    Throughout a typical year, many people end up becoming sick. In most cases, these feelings of sickness only last for a few days. However, people being exposed to high amounts of VOCs can feel nauseous almost all of the time. Making matters worse, this type of nausea is often accompanied by vomiting. If your new paint is causing you to feel sick, it could contain large amounts of volatile organic compounds.
  • Feeling Tired All of the Time

    For many people, life moves at a rapid pace. Therefore, this type of pace often causes people to feel tired. If you’re always feeling tired, the pace you keep might not be to blame. Instead, it could be the new paint in your home that’s making you feel tired. Unfortunately, VOC exposure is known to make people fatigued. Therefore, you’ll always want to ensure you’re picking out paint that has low amounts of VOCs.
  • Increasing Your Risk of Developing Certain Types of Cancer

    Research from a recent CBC Marketplace report found that VOC levels over 500ppb cause a wide range of problems for those sensitive to chemicals. Considering that, it’s important to note that volatile organic compounds can cause both short and long term problems. Unfortunately, long term exposure to high amounts of VOCs can cause someone’s cancer risks to begin increasing. If you don’t want to deal with this problem, it’s wise to purchase paint with low amounts of volatile organic compounds.

In closing, it’s important to learn the health risks associated with exposure to VOCs. Many people wonder what is a VOC and whether or not they’re being exposed to these volatile compounds. If your flooring or walls were painted over a year ago, many VOCs will have dissipated. For new types of painting projects, it’s wise to ensure you’re choosing low VOC paint. A recent study made participants spend six days in a room with reduced VOC levels. The results of this study found that cognitive scores for workers in a reduced VOC environment were 101% higher than other participants working in rooms with higher VOC concentrations.

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