Home Air Quality- VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)

Can breathing be killing you?

 As we go about our day we encounter many things that can harm us. Most of us do not think about the air we breath as being an issue. Air quality is becoming a greater concern as we discover how it can affect our health. There are many things that can affect the air quality around us. There are naturally occurring contaminates as well as lifestyle choices that can contribute to poor air quality.

 Issues that can arise from poor air quality can present themselves in many different ways. If you have noticed symptoms such as frequent headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, wheezing, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, you may be dealing with poor air quality. If your symptoms improve once you leave your home or work place, this can be a strong indication that you are reacting to indoor air quality issues. Instances of asthma have been steadily increasing even though our outdoor air pollution has been on the decline. While outdoor pollution is declining the amount of time we spend indoors is on the rise. We are building houses that are more energy efficient and tighter. Tighter homes do not breath, which limits the exchange of air. This tends to trap contaminates in the home and work place causing elevated levels of chemicals that can affect the quality of the air we breath.

 There are many contaminates that can affect us. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) can come from many sources. The most common are cleaning supplies, paints, paint thinners, building material, health and beauty materials and active mold growth. These items can off gas chemicals into the air that we breath. These chemicals can lead to irritation, health concerns and in some cases cancer. Recently “60 Minutes” did a featured presentation on excessive levels of formaldehyde in Chinese sourced laminate flooring. In some cases the levels were 20 times greater than what is acceptable. These levels are set by the EPA to help prevent exposure the harmful conditions. It is estimated that more then a 100,00 homes could be affected.


 There are many states that are requiring the testing of air quality during the real estate transaction. There are tests that can be done during the home inspection process to determine the general condition of the air quality in a home and list the probable sources of issues. Stonehollow Fine Home Inspections is one of the few home inspections firms in CT performs these air quality testing. This testing can help to determine if there is active mold growth in the home. It will also indicate what type of VOC may be elevated. It is important to understand the quality of the air in our homes so that we can take steps to reduce our exposure to contaminate that can result in health concerns.