Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are carbon-containing organic chemicals present in indoor air that can impact the health and comfort of building occupants. They are generated from a number indoor sources, including building materials, furnishings, consumer products, tobacco smoking, people and their activities, and chemical reactions (e.g. cleaning solutions).
VOCs can also enter indoor air from external sources, such as nearby parking garages or buildings exhuming VOC gases into the environment. The Indoor Air Hygiene Institute looks at readings of Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) which are comprised of all VOCs in the environment.
Presence of TVOCs can lead to Sick Building Syndrome. Several studies have linked negative health impacts from indoor TVOCs for occupants with asthma, allergies and related respiratory ailments.
Room sanitizing products also produce TVOCs. The Indoor Air Hygiene Institute recommends that sanitation activities occur while the building has minimum occupancy, if possible.
Fresh, outside air is the best way to manage TVOCs and minimize their impact, in combination with humidity control. For best results, the cleaning air ducts is recommended, including the use of technologies like UV-C which prevents biological build up inside the system. Also use HEPA filters if the system allows it. If HEPA filters in the current system are not possible, consider the use of HEPA air purifiers while the building is occupied. Furthermore, frequent cleaning of carpets, drapes and furniture is suggested to remove TVOCs.
The Indoor Air Hygiene Institute requires TVOCs to be kept below 500 μg/m3 for Health/Silver certification and below 400 μg/m3 for Performance/Gold certification and higher.
For environments that can expose people to highly toxic and dangerous VOCs such as carbon monoxide (CO) or radon, fully functioning alarms must be in place.
Certify Your Indoor Air Quality
Ensure you are taking the right steps to provide quality indoor air. Give people the confidence to return indoors.