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The EPA on the Dangers of Volatile Organic Compounds


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  • What Are VOCs?

    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are extremely hazardous. The EPA explains VOCs, and the dangers they pose to our health.

    According to the EPA, VOCs cause eye, nose and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system.

    The EPA describes Volatile Organic Compounds as chemicals that evaporate at room temperature which are emitted by a wide array of products used in homes––including paints and lacquers, paint strippers, varnishes, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, pesticides, building materials and even furnishings. VOCs are released from products into the home both during use and while stored.

    Common Sources of VOCs

    VOCs come from a wide ranges of sources such as household air fresheners, aeorsol sprays cans, cleaners and disinfectants. Paints and glues are also able to release VOCs in the air. For the most part, VOCs are present if you can smell a very strong chemical scent coming from one of these products. While a strong smell is a sure sign of be careful, these chemicals can still be present and cause damage even at concentrations that you cannot smell or perceive.

    How to Remove VOCs

    All Alen Air Purifiers utilize powerful HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) style filters, and many include an added layer of Activated Carbon. Activated carbon is full of microscopic cracks and holes which trap and remove airborne odors, gases and chemicals from cleaning products, personal care items, smoke, cooking odors, spoiled food and more.


    EPA's Recommendations to Reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the Home:

    • Carefully read and follow all directions and warnings on common household products
    • Make sure to have plenty of fresh air and ventilation when painting, remodeling, or using other products that may release VOCs (e.g., by opening windows and using extra fans)
    • Never mix products, such as household cleaners, unless directed to do so on the label
    • Always store household products that contain chemicals according to manufacturers' instructions
    • Keep all products away from children!

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