Understanding Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs

chemistryWhat are VOCs, anyway? And should we be concerned? News stories about chemical dangers in food, in health products, and in our homes appear almost daily, so we worry.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are carbon-containing compounds that, as the product dries, get released into the air where they react with other elements to produce ozone, which in turn causes air pollution and health issues. It makes sense, then, to limit those VOCs in our products.

It sounds like we should get rid of VOCs altogether in our products, but some of these compounds make the final product easier to apply and help the product’s shelf life. Also, getting rid of the VOCs may be good for the environment but a product may have other ingredients to which people with chemical sensitivities may still react. So when you go to paint your home, build a wood project, or refinish some cabinetry, you want to make sure that you and your family are safe.

All our products at Aqua Coat are low VOC. Each product page on our site has a link to a safety data sheet in compliance with FDA standards.

For more information and for best practices on painting your home, the US Environmental Protection Agency has a pdf on safe painting standards that is available here.

If you are worried about VOCs, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Purchase water-based products, like Aqua Coat’s wood finishing line, because they have fewer VOCs than oil-based products.
  • Purchase products that clean up with water.
  • Don’t use products manufactured for the outdoors in the indoors.
  • Always use paint or finishing products in a well-ventilated area

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