Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exist in many materials that are common in laboratories. Because they can be harmful, everyone should be cognizant of their health. Keep reading to learn more about volatile organic compounds, their potential dangers, and how you can minimize health risks.

What Are Volatile Organic Compounds?

VOCs are a group of compounds that evaporate at room temperature. They exist in many common household and industrial products, including paints, cleaning supplies, and even cosmetics. While not all VOCs are dangerous, exposure to some can cause headaches, dizziness, and in severe cases, damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.

Utilize Fume Hoods and Proper PPE

One way to reduce exposure to VOCs in laboratory or industrial settings, is using fume hoods and personal protective equipment (PPE). Fume hoods extract hazardous fumes, preventing nearby personnel from inhaling them. Meanwhile, ventilated masks and gloves offer an additional layer of protection, preventing direct contact with harmful substances.

Increase Ventilation in Storage Spaces

VOCs tend to accumulate in poorly ventilated areas, especially where products containing these compounds reside. These compounds can pose health risks due to their ability to off-gas and release harmful pollutants into the air. By improving the ventilation in enclosed spaces, you can dissipate the concentration of VOCs and reduce the associated health risks. Adequate ventilation promotes air exchange and helps to maintain a safer and healthier indoor environment.

Clean Spills Immediately

VOCs can enter the air through spills and leaks. Immediate cleanup minimizes the amount of VOCs that evaporate, thereby reducing exposure. It’s important to handle the cleanup process carefully by wearing appropriate PPE to avoid direct contact.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Label Precautions

Manufacturers provide safety information on labels for a reason. Adhering to these guidelines can significantly decrease the risk of exposure to VOCs. These instructions often include using the product in a well-ventilated area, avoiding skin or eye contact, and storage requirements.

You can also contact your chemical suppliers with safety and manufacturing questions. Always work with a trustworthy chemical and solvent distributor, such as Post Apple Scientific,that provides manufacturing labels and information to promote safe chemical usage.

While VOCs are part of our everyday lives, never overlook or ignore their potential health risks. By becoming more aware and taking these steps to minimize health risks around VOCs, we can create healthier, safer environments at work. If you’re looking for a safe way to obtain chemical products, trust Post Apple Scientific.