Avoid bringing toxic chemicals into your home

by | May 7, 2023 | Health and Wellness

Replacing one or two pieces of furniture can be a relatively affordable way to refresh a room. But you’ll want to make sure you don’t bring toxic chemicals into your home with your new decor. One thing you’ll want to avoid as much as possible is volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

These are a group of chemicals found in many products, and they can negatively impact air quality.

They are often used in composite wood products, particle board, paints and glues, and some furnishings.

Exposure to them can cause a variety of symptoms including fatigue, nausea, dizziness, headaches, respiratory issues and eye, nose or throat irritation. Children, seniors, pregnant people and those with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis, are most at risk.

Manufacturers are aware of the risks and concerns around these compounds and have created and marketed products without using them. Products labelled “no VOC” or “low VOC” may give off fewer volatile organic compounds.

One common example is formaldehyde. Other potential sources in the home include the fumes from tobacco smoke, improperly vented gas- or oil-burning appliances, and the smoke from fireplaces.

Proper ventilation is one way to make sure formaldehyde and other VOCs don’t build up to dangerous levels in your home. Off-gassing, where these compounds seep out of products, increases in warm humid environments, so you might need to open some windows to bring in some fresh air.

Learn more about VOCs and ways to reduce your exposure on the Health Canada website at canada.ca/healthy-home

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