Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases emitted from certain liquids or solid. They include a variety of chemicals found in many homes in Metairie, LA. The chemicals possess both long-term and short-term health effects, as discussed below.

The Source of VOCs

Formaldehyde and benzene are the most common VOCs. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with an acidic smell and is common in home-building materials such as particleboard, plywood, adhesives, paint strippers and glues. Burning fuels, such as wood, kerosene and gas, also contain VOCs.

Other sources are personal care products, including cleaning agents, hair spray, dry cleaning fluid, perfume, lacquers, varnishes and hobby supplies. Volatile organic compounds lower indoor air quality.

Health Effects Cause By VOCs

Exposure to Volatile organic compounds can cause throat, eye, nose irritation, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, skin problems and dizziness. Extended exposure to a high concentration of VOCs could cause health complications such as lung irritation, damage to the kidney, liver and severe damage to your central nervous system. Volatile organic compounds can also cause cancer in both animals and humans.

Most people, however, do not get any effects when exposed to low levels of Volatile organic compounds over short periods. On the other hand, people with asthma and allergies are more sensitive to VOCs.

How to Prevent Exposure

To keep yourself and your family safe from VOCs, control the source. You can opt for materials that do not produce VOCs. The following are ways to reduce exposure:

  • When selecting building materials, opt for varnishes and paint that give off low levels of VOCs.
  • Use less scented products such as aerosol deodorizers, incense or plug-in products.
  • Keep furnishings in storage for a few weeks to give off gases before bringing them into the house.
  • Prevent smoke from getting into your home.
  • Only buy enough solvents, paints and cleaners to prevent storing them in your home. Keep the products in the garage or outside storeage.
  • Safely and properly dispose of old and unnecessary bottles or tins that contain VOC products.
  • Place clothes that have been recently dry cleaned outside for a little bit.


To ensure quality indoor air, invest in a ventilator, or air purifier. Both of these can be installed as a part of your existing heating and cooling system ensuring that fresh air is introduced into your home or that VOCs are removed from your indoor air. Quality air will keep your family safe from VOCs’ health complications.

For more information about improving your indoor air quality, contact us at Caribbean Breeze Heating & Cooling. Take an important step in maintaining a healthy family by minimizing exposure to these chemicals.

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