what is vocs

What is VOCs and How to Remove VOCs from Indoor Air?

Indoor air pollution is a major source of VOC exposure, it can affect our health seriously, while what are VOCs? And TVOCs? It's necessary to have a further knowing of them. And you will tell if you and your family are suffering it or not. Keep on reading this article you will also know how to remove VOCs in home effectively. First let's see what is TVOCS and VOCs.

what is vocs


What is TVOC?

TVOC stands for Total Volatile Organic Compounds and it is a measurement used to assess the overall amount of VOCs in a given environment. It represents a group of volatile organic compounds and is typically measured in parts per billion (ppb) or milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). Since there are numerous types of VOCs, it is challenging to monitor each one individually. As a result, TVOC is a more practical measure to represent the total amount of VOCs present in an indoor or outdoor environment. However, the specific VOCs included in TVOC may vary based on different standards or calculations, making it important to understand the exact definition or standard being used when comparing TVOC levels across different measurements or projects.

What is VOCs and Why Is It Harmful?

What Does VOC Mean? Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that are emitted as gases from various solids and liquids, including building materials, furniture, cleaning and personal care products, and even cooking. VOCs can have short- and long-term health effects, as they can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and in some cases, cause damage to the liver, kidney, or central nervous system. Long-term exposure to high levels of VOCs may also increase the risk of cancer. In addition, some VOCs can contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, which can exacerbate respiratory issues like asthma and cause other health problems. Therefore, reducing exposure to VOCs is important for protecting both human health and the environment.

What Does VOC Stand for in Our Common Life?

VOCs as the most common materials form our life, they could be in many phisical states. Where do vocs come from? They can be released or "off-gas" into the air we breathe, potentially causing health problems for some individuals. Some common sources of VOCs include building materials such as paints and adhesives, home and personal care products like cleaning agents and air fresheners, and activities like smoking and cooking. Exposure to VOCs may make symptoms worse for people with asthma or who are particularly sensitive to chemicals. Symptoms of exposure to high levels of VOCs include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, nausea/vomiting, and worsening of asthma symptoms. 

What is VOC in Paint?

VOCs are chemicals that are commonly found in paint, they are responsible for the strong odor you smell when you open a can of paint, and they are released into the air as the paint dries. While most VOCs dissipate as the paint dries, some may continue to be released into the air for years afterward, which can be harmful to human health and the environment. Some VOCs are known carcinogens and can cause a variety of health problems, including headaches, dizziness, asthma, and allergies.

What Level of VOC Is Dangerous?

We all know that VOC is harmful to our health, while what level of VOC is dangerous that needs our attention? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the acceptable level of VOC indoors is 0 to 400 ppb (parts per billion). Exposure to levels between 400 and 2,200 ppb can cause short-term effects such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and irritation of the respiratory tract and eyes. Levels between 2,200 and 30,000 ppb are considered unhealthy and can cause long-term health effects such as liver and kidney damage, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. It's important to monitor and regulate VOC levels in indoor environments, especially for susceptible populations such as babies, the elderly, and those with respiratory issues.

VOC Level (ppb)

Health Effects


Acceptable level. No short-term effects expected


Short-term exposure can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and irritation of the respiratory tract and eyes. Increased ventilation is necessary when VOC levels exceed 800 ppb.


Unhealthy level. Short-term exposure can cause dizziness, nausea, and loss of coordination. Long-term exposure to high levels of VOC can cause liver and kidney damage, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Immediate action should be taken to improve air quality by increasing ventilation and removing products that emit gasses.

The level of VOCs can be that can be harmful to human health varies depending on the specific chemical and the duration and frequency of exposure. In general, exposure to high levels of VOCs can cause acute or chronic health effects, while low levels of exposure over a long period of time may increase the risk of health problems. There are no specific threshold levels for VOCs that apply to all chemicals. The risk of health effects from inhaling any chemical depends on how much is in the air, how long and how often a person breathes it in. It is best to limit your exposure to products and materials that contain VOCs and take steps to reduce the levels of VOCs in your home. If you have concerns about your exposure to VOCs, you should consult with your doctor or a qualified indoor air quality professional.

What Does Low VOC Mean?

Low VOC refers to products or materials that have a low level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), it takes up 0.3–7.99% of your room air. VOCs are gases that are emitted from certain solids or liquids, such as paints, adhesives, and cleaning products. These compounds can have negative effects on human health and the environment, as they contribute to air pollution and can cause respiratory problems, headaches, and other health issues. Low VOC products are designed to have lower emissions of these compounds, which can help improve indoor air quality and reduce harmful effects. The exact definition of "low VOC" can vary depending on the product and the regulatory standards in a particular region.

What Is Zero Voc?

Zero VOC paints contain a very low level of volatile organic compounds from 0–0.29% of your room air - typically at or below 5 grams per liter of paint. However, it's important to note that adding color pigment to Zero VOC paint can increase the amount of volatile organic compounds by up to 10 grams per liter. Even though Zero VOC paints can still contain potentially harmful compounds, they are considered a safer alternative to traditional paints, especially for those who are sensitive to VOCs.

How to Get Rid of Volatile Organic Compounds?

As we can see, high content of VOCs can do much harm to our health, it's important for us to remove it at a safe level at home. There are several ways to get rid of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your home or workplace. Here are a few tips:

Increase ventilation: Proper ventilation is important to reduce the concentration of VOCs indoors. You can open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate and improve indoor air quality.
Keep humidity levels low: High humidity can increase the release of VOCs from products, so keeping indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent can help reduce their concentration.
Choose low or no VOC products: When purchasing products for your home or office, look for those that are labeled as low or no VOC. These products contain fewer harmful chemicals and can help reduce the overall concentration of VOCs in your space.
Store products properly: Proper storage of products can help prevent the release of VOCs. Keep them in a cool, dry place and make sure they are tightly sealed when not in use.
Use air purifiers: Air purifiers with HEPA filters or activated carbon filters can effectively remove VOCs from the air. Make sure to choose an air purifier that is appropriate for the size of the room.


how to remove vocs?
MS600 HEPA air purifier for large room can effectively remove VOCs at home

All in all, VOCs as the most common indoor air pollution needs can affect our health seriously. To get rid of VOCs at home, there many solutions of it, while choose air purifiers with HEPA filters or activated carbon filters can be more effective. At Membrane Solutions, HEPA filters are designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, including some VOCs. Activated carbon filters work by adsorbing VOCs onto the surface of the filter, where they are held until the filter is replaced.