Unfortunately, manufacturers are not currently obligated by U.S. law to list all ingredients in consumer products and labels such as "natural" or "green" do not necessarily mean the products are safer. Better air quality will require some research on your part, and it's best to find a reliable source of information(not a manufacturer's website, which is devoted to marketing their products to you). One place to start is the EPA's Safer Choice website, that lists products that have been evaluated by scientists for safer ingredients and more honest labeling.
A new study finds that many household goods degrade air quality more than once thought.
Most air pollutants come from the extraction, refining and use of fossil fuels. These pollutants include hundreds of different compounds that scientists clump into what they call Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). "Once they're emitted into the atmosphere, they can lead to the formation of ground level ozone and particles, both of which are detrimental to human health," says Jessica Gilman, an atmospheric chemist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and an author of the new study.
How to choose durable and cost-effective paints and finishes that are less harmful to your health and the planet.
Other things pollute the air more than gasoline exhaust does.
Ever wonder what makes the paint stick to your wall? The magic chemistry behind paint drying is driven by volatile organic compounds—a term for a chemical that easily turns into a vapor or a gas. They’re also found in solvents, glues, and other home products… and they’re a major cause of poor indoor air quality. Now, researchers are discovering those compounds aren’t just confined to the indoors.
The science is clear: Indoor vegetation doesn’t significantly remove pollutants from the air.
Overall, this is a good news story: VOCs from fuel use have decreased, so the air is cleaner. Since the contribution from fuels has dropped, it is not surprising that chemical products, which have not been as tightly regulated, are now responsible for a larger share of the VOCs.
I like having air fresheners around the house, but the other day it occurred to me that I don't know what exactly they're puffing into my living room. Am I despoiling the planet by freshening my air?
From dry-cleaning fluid to gasoline compounds to paint thinners, VOCs are common contaminants in groundwater.
Millions of Americans apply personal care products every morning before heading to work or school. But these products don’t stick to our bodies permanently. Over the course of the day, compounds in deodorants, lotions, hair gels and perfumes evaporate from our skin and eventually make their way outdoors. Now there’s new evidence to suggest that these products are major sources of air pollution in urban areas.
The deodorants, perfumes and soaps that keep us smelling good are fouling the air with a harmful type of pollution — at levels as high as emissions from today’s cars and trucks.
VOCs play a significant role in the formation of ozone and fine particulates in the atmosphere. Under sunlight, VOCs react with nitrogen oxides emitted mainly from vehicles, power plants and industrial activities to form ozone, which in turn helps the formation of fine particulates.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are gases given off by a number of indoor sources. Concentrations of most volatile organic compounds is higher in indoor than outdoor air.
Because industrial chemical use is minimally regulated, a lab at Duke University is offering free analyses of furniture for potentially hazardous compounds.