A recent study released by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has found that while much indoor pollution comes from outdoor sources such as roadways and car exhaust, the largest share of indoor pollution doesn’t come from outdoor pollutants, but indoor sources: mainly gas combustion appliances: stoves, cooking ovens, gas/wood fireplaces and heaters. If you have any of these appliances in your home, you should be aware of the full range of health risks that these appliances pose.
What Indoor VOCs Mean For Your Health
That study by Van Tran found that VOCs have significant effects on health.
Specifically Van Tran looked at the effects of the most common pollutants in homes including: VOCs, NO2, SO2, COx , Ozone and PM.
See the effects of these below:
Sources of these compounds:
Outdoor environment, cooking, combustion activities (burning of candles, use of fireplaces, heaters, stoves, fireplaces and chimneys, cigarette smoking), cleaning activities, paints, stains, varnishes, solvents, pesticides, adhesives, wood preservatives, waxes, polishes, cleansers, lubricants, sealants, dyes, air fresheners, fuels, plastics, copy machines, printers, tobacco products, perfumes, dry-cleaned clothing, building materials and furnishings, gas-fueled cooking and heating appliances, outdoor sources, photocopying, air purifying, disinfecting devices, cooking stoves; fireplaces; outdoor air, cooking stoves; tobacco smoking; fireplaces; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; outdoor air, tobacco smoke, building materials, consumer products, incense burning, cleaning and cooking, house dust, pets, cockroaches, mold/dampness, pollens (originating from animals, insects, mites, and plants), bacteria, viruses, and fungi are carried by people, animals, and soil and plants.
Have a Gas Stove? Be Aware…
“When gas stoves and heaters are used, indoor [pollutant] levels often exceed outdoor levels” – Van Tran
How to Protect Your Health
While many filtration devices and air purifiers capture a slice of indoor pollutants: PM and larger germs, very few adequately address the smaller gaseous particles that Van Tran highlights. Namely VOCs.
This is because most VOCs and gaseous pollutants are smaller than 3 microns and simply pass-through traditional paper filters, that’s why special technology is needed to trap these chemicals. The main way that this is done currently is with “activated carbon” filters that utilize chemically activated compounds that bind with dangerous chemicals. The drawback to these is that over time (1 week-3 months) these binding sites get full. Think of it like a lint roller, once there is too much lint on the paper, it cant remove any more particles.
“Activated carbon filters are a bit like oil filters on a car – they remove a certain percentage each time through the filter until they get full, at which point, they remove essentially nothing. When you’re buying an activated carbon filter, you’re basically buying a certain amount of odor removal capacity and that capacity is directly related to the quality and quantity of activated carbon in the filter, not all the bells and whistles.” – Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE, AC FOX, Inc.
The best air purifier that we have seen for VOCs is the Westinghouse 1702. When compared to all the other purification methods it outperforms other models with its patented Nano-Confined Catalytic Oxygen (NCCO) technology. See some of their results for VOC (formaldehyde) removal below:
In short, modern homes (especially those with has stoves) contain many modern pollutants that reduce our health and quality of life. If you are concerned about the air quality in your home, contact a local air quality measurement company and purchase an air purifier that can handle VOC removal, and keep it near gas appliances. After all, the sooner you take action, the sooner you can breathe free.