Volatile organic compounds

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are released from furnishings, construction materials and consumer products. Although VOCs are often associated with the gas phase, they can condense as particles or be absorbed by inorganic particles which then undergo chemical transformation. People often sense the presence of VOCs through their smell.

New buildings often contain higher concentrations of VOCs than older buildings. This is because the emission of VOCs from paint, furniture, wood finishes, carpet, vinyl flooring and plastic parts is often highest when new. Everyone is familiar with the "new house" or "new car" smell.

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