Volatile organic compounds, also called VOCs, are chemicals that are off-gassed from products or processes. They persist in the air, and they can interact with other indoor air pollutants in your Middlebury, IN home. Exposure to VOCs can cause serious short-term and long-term health consequences that threaten the health of you and your family.

Short-term Effects of Exposure to VOCs

Short-term exposure to moderate or high levels of volatile organic compounds can cause immediate health effects, explains the American Lung Association. For example, if you bring home freshly dry-cleaned clothing or a new desk made of particleboard, you may immediately notice a strong odor that gives you a headache and makes you feel sick to your stomach. You could experience shortness of breath, dizziness, coughing, headache, nausea, or vomiting. You may also develop irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat.

Long-term Central Nervous System Damage

When you have frequent exposure to volatile organic chemicals, even at a low level, you can develop central nervous system damage. This damage may include peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to the nerves in your extremities. You may also develop cognitive problems, personality changes, or a condition that resembles dementia. After many years of exposure to bad indoor air quality, you could develop permanent lung damage and harm to other organs, such as your kidneys and liver.

Increased Risk of Cancer

Some volatile organic compounds are known carcinogens. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, formaldehyde is one such compound. It off-gases from dry-cleaned clothing, particleboard, and upholstery treated with stain-protecting solvents. Exposure to formaldehyde increases your risk of myeloid leukemia, nasal cavity, nasopharynx, and sinus cancers. Other volatile organic chemicals may increase your risk of lung, bladder, liver, brain, and bone cancers.

For more information about the ways volatile organic compounds threaten the health of you and your family, take a look at Rex’s Heating and Cooling’s indoor air quality services, or contact us today.

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