what’s the deal with VOC’s

What are VOC’s?

VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) are a group of carbon-based chemicals which evaporate (off-gas) easily at room temperature, most commonly benzene, acetone, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, toluene, xylene, and 1,3-butadiene. They can be found in paints, solvents, upholstery fabrics, carpets, adhesives, varnishes, vinyl floors, cleaning chemicals, air fresheners, cosmetics, etc.. These items can also be created biologically by plants, including some moulds found around the home.

What are the dangers?

“VOCs include a variety of chemicals that can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and skin problems. Higher concentrations may cause irritation of the lungs, as well as damage to the liver, kidney, or central nervous system. Long-term exposure may also cause damage to the liver, kidneys or central nervous system. Some VOCs are suspected of causing cancer and some have been shown to cause cancer in humans. The health effects caused by VOCs depend on the concentration and length of exposure to the chemicals.” -Health Link BC

So how can I minimize my exposure to volatile organic compounds?

One of the many ways to avoid these harmful off-gases is to select products labelled as ‘low VOC’s’.


Colorhouse Inspired untinted base paints are Green Wise® Certified. As part of that certification, the following compounds are prohibited and are not used as ingredients in the manufacture of their base paints: methylene chloride, 1,2 dichlorobenzene, phthalates, isophorone, formaldehyde, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and the following heavy metals: antimony, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, and mercury.

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