This article describes Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) , including our measurement methodology and common health effects associated with high VOC levels.
Awair measures and reports the concentration of Volatile Organic Compounds in your air, otherwise known as VOCs. VOCs are naturally occurring and man-made chemicals that have a range of health impacts. Products such as cigarettes, hair spray, building materials, and furniture all produce VOCs that range in severity and concentration. Glow and Awair both measure the total amount of VOCs (tVOCs) in the indoor area, which is the industry standard for measurement. This measurement should be understood as a hygiene metric: if VOCs are routinely high, you should consider ordering additional testing from specialized equipment.
Health Effects of VOCs
VOCs are a common indoor pollutant found in many household products and building materials. Chronic exposure to high VOC levels can aggravate existing skin and respiratory conditions such as eczema and asthma. It can also contribute to the development of more serious diseases such as cancer.
Exposure to moderate levels of VOCs can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, conjunctival irritation, and pharyngitis.
Glow’s Total VOC index provides benchmarks to help you understanding your daily exposure.
Why Does Glow Measure Total VOCs?
There are over 230 VOCs with negative health effects that are of high concern. VOCs also tend to co-occur in high numbers: many of these dangerous chemicals can be grouped together. Glow’s sensor technology uses a calibration chemical to leverage this VOC-grouping tendency and provide a tVOC estimate. This is the industry standard and generates a more holistic assessment of your chemical exposure. Measuring VOCs individually would require a designated sensor for each chemical. Given the large number of potential toxins, this would not be practical. If your tVOCs are routinely high, we recommend obtaining professional assistance or taking proactive steps to reduce exposure.
Which VOCs Can Glow Detect?
Glow’s tVOC sensor is calibrated to detect the following chemicals.
m- & p-Xylenes
t-Butyl methyl ether
How Can I Manage VOCs?
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