As our homes become a place for work, sleep, exercise and play, many of us are spending more time indoors. With poor indoor air quality associated with adverse health and well-being, it is increasingly a concern.
So how does indoor air become dirty in the first place? Gases and contaminants often accumulate. Off-gassing occurs when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) escape from furniture, paints, and cleaning products.
Common VOCs include formaldehyde, benzene and toluene. Formaldehyde, for instance, is a colourless gas often released by furniture, wooden products with formaldehyde-based resins like plywood, floor lacquers, and many plastic products. Studies show that exposure to VOCs can lead to such symptoms as headaches and fatigue.
Common allergens that trigger asthma symptoms include mould, bacteria, mites and dust that accumulate or get trapped in crevices and soft furnishings. The combination of inadequate ventilation and our climate can also worsen the concentration of these gases and pollutants.
Additionally, the pandemic has also highlighted the need to keep the air clean and well-ventilated to minimise the transmission of viruses. So, there’s no time like the present to start shopping for low-VOC products and avoid more paint and solvent products than you need as these can leak VOCs while in storage.