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Volatile Organic Compounds and Exposure Risks for Workers and Building Occupants

CTSI provides industrial hygiene and indoor air quality (IAQ) testing, monitoring, training, and consulting services to identify and mitigate exposure hazards to chemicals and other airborne contaminants.

New York, NY – WEBWIRE

The good news is there are ways to test and monitor the built environment for the presence of VOCs and other airborne pollutants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. VOCs include a large group of chemicals that can be found in a number of products and materials used to build, furnish, clean, and maintain homes and buildings. These chemicals are also found in a number of personal care and consumer products, and workers in a number of occupations could be at risk of exposure to elevated levels of VOCs.

VOCs are an indoor air quality (IAQ) concern because they are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors, and they are emitted by thousands of products reports the EPA.

Possible health effects from exposure to VOCs shared by EPA include:

  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea
  • Damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans

EPA also lists key signs or symptoms associated with possible exposure to VOCs, including:

  • Conjunctival irritation
  • Nose and throat discomfort
  • Headache
  • Allergic skin reaction
  • Dyspnea
  • Declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • Nausea
  • Emesis
  • Epistaxis
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

“As with other indoor pollutants, the extent and nature of any health effect depends on many factors, including which VOC caused the exposure, the level of exposure, length of time exposed, and the individual,” said Frank Selamie, President of CTSI. “The good news is there are ways to test and monitor the built environment for the presence of VOCs and other airborne pollutants. If found at elevated concentrations, steps can then be implemented to mitigate or eliminate exposure concerns.”

To protect building occupants and workers, and to help businesses that utilize products that emit VOCs comply with health and safety regulations, the industrial hygiene and IAQ professionals at CTSI offer testing, monitoring, training, and consulting services. CTSI also recently sponsored an educational video about VOCs and things building occupants should know that can be seen at:

To learn more about CTSI and their indoor air quality, industrial hygiene, environmental, health, and safety services, please visit, email , or call (212) 971-7016.

About CTSI
Established in 1992, Consulting & Testing Services, Inc. (CTSI) was founded on one strong commitment: to provide efficient and expert services to clients based on professionalism, innovation, and cost-effective expert solutions. This commitment has been furthered with CTSI’s reputation in fostering client relationships in all sectors of the Environmental, Health, Safety, and Construction industries. CTSI prides itself in utilizing a high quality service based on its diverse team of staff and professionals’ concise recommendations and solutions to the most pressing dilemmas. The company operates offices in New York and Florida that service clients across the United States.

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 Volatile Organic Compound
 Occupational Health
 Indoor Air Quality
 Air Testing
 Industrial Hygiene

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