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Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Sensitive Choice

Hello folks & a Happy New Year from Ausclimate!

We’ve found a wonderful little fact sheet here for you from the great team at Sensitive Choice all about VOCs. As we know, these everyday-home airborne chemical nasties can be just terrible for a wide range of people; from young children & older people, to those with asthma & respiratory issues, to allergy sufferers & of course people with chemical sensitivities. This fact sheet does a great job of explaining just what VOCs are, listing some key chemicals to watch out for & gives some handy tips to reduce your exposure. Thanks Sensitive Choice!

 


 

VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCS)

Pretty much every one has heard about VOCs, but what and where are they?

There is no single definition for what constitutes a volatile organic compound (VOC), but it is safe to say that a VOC is a carbon-based organic compound that evaporates (or off-gases) at room temperature.

VOCs are very common and may be man-made, or naturally occurring.

VOCs are a broad group and while some should be avoided, others are not known to cause any issues for most people. Then there are some people who may be allergic or sensitized to some VOCs.

People with respiratory problems such as asthma, young children, older people, and persons with heightened sensitivity to chemicals may be more susceptible to irritation and symptoms from some VOCs.

Longer term exposure to VOCs may be more likely to trigger and other respiratory symptoms in some people.

VOCs exist outside (particularly in air pollution) and inside.

There are VOCs in aerosols, cleaning products, paints, cosmetics, adhesives, pressed wood products, foam, tobacco smoke, upholstery, carpets, textiles, plastics, detergents (and more).

VOCs can emanate from:

Chemical Uses Comment
Formaldehyde Used in the manufacture of resins and plastics, mostly in the wood-products industry and adhesives. Also tobacco smoke. Exposure to low levels irritates the eyes, nose and throat, and can cause allergies affecting the skin and lungs. Higher exposure can cause significant damage, even death. Possibly also carcinogenic.
Ethylbenzene Primarily used in the production of styrene and synthetic polymers as well as a number of other uses. Respiratory sensitivity.
Benzene Used in manufacturing. Also tobacco smoke. Health concerns, particularly when inhaled
Fragrances Fragrances may consist of a complex range of chemicals and are added to a range of products including cosmetics, cleaning products, air fresheners, detergents etc. Fragrances are VOCs and may trigger symptoms in some people with asthma or allergies.
Toluene Toluene is a common solvent, used in such things as paints, paint thinners, sealants and adhesives. Also tobacco smoke. Inhaling low levels can cause tiredness, confusion and a range of other symptoms.
Xylene A solvent used to manufacture petrol, chemicals, polyester fibre, and to make dyes, paints and insecticides. Also tobacco smoke. When inhaled or absorbed through the skin symptoms can include headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

You can influence the level of VOCs in your home.

Buy no or low-VOC products and reduce the number of products in your home that give off VOCs.

If you do buy new products that may off-gas, consider allowing them to do so before you take delivery, in a spare room or outside.

Increase ventilation by opening doors and windows or use air purifiers with activated carbon filters or other means to filter VOCs.

Air fresheners are most likely emitters of VOCs (fragrances) that mask unpleasant odours with other odours. It’s probably best to deal with the unpleasant odours using the techniques above if odours trigger your symptoms.

Keep both the temperature and relative humidity lower. Chemicals will off-gas more under warmer conditions with high humidity.

If you can, paint and renovate your home when it is unoccupied or during seasons that will allow for additional ventilation.

Fact sheet originally published 

 


 

In addition to these steps, the regular use of a high-quality air purifier will also do an excellent job of reducing those VOC levels in your home or workspace. We’re extremely proud of our recent independent VOC Testing Results for our Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice approved WINIX Ultimate 5-Stage Air Purifier. This official independent test, performed by the Australian College of Environmental Studies concluded an almost 80% reduction of total VOCs within one hour of the air purifier being in use. What a result!

For more details, please take a look at our full WINIX Air Purifier VOC efficacy testing results blog post right here.

Thanks guys, as always please get in touch with any questions that you may have & you can visit the Ausclimate website for our full range of Air Purifiers & Dehumidifiers.

Always here to help!

Cheers,

Russell Bryan
Ausclimate Co-founder
visit the website:
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Winix Air Purifiers VOC Test Results

VOC Test Picture

Winix Air Purifier VOC Efficacy Test Results Are In

Ausclimate are extremely proud to share our recent independent VOC Testing Results for our Winix Ultimate 5-Stage Air Purifier, but firstly, just what are VOCs?

So what are VOCs?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that can easily enter the air in our home from many commonly used household products. The list of VOCs in your home seems endless. And yes, they’re everywhere: the materials used to build our home, plywood & wood products, carpets, soft furnishings, upholstered furniture, oil & solvent based cleaners, nail polish & other personal care products, adhesives & paints, aerosol sprays, even the vehicle emissions entering our homes.

We are commonly exposed to these VOCs by breathing, touching & swallowing. Just how harmful these are to our health is determined directly by:

  • The toxicity of the VOCs
  • The amount of VOCs in the air
  • The duration of exposure

Reducing our exposure can be achieved in a number of ways. And, whilst it may not be possible to totally remove these hazardous chemicals from our home, we can certainly take some steps to limit our exposure:

  • Ensure indoor areas are well-ventilated
  • Reduce the sources of VOCs where practicable
  • Use high quality air purifiers.

Winix Air Purifiers for VOC Removal

It’s well known that HEPA filter within the Winix Air Purifiers are designed to remove airborne pollutants in our homes, including those tiny particles of dust, mould, smoke, pollens, viruses and bacteria.

But the HEPA filter alone are not designed for VOC removal. It’s really the Winix ACTIVATED CARBON filter, as well as Winix PlasmaWaveTM technology that are the most important features when it comes to removing VOCs (such as formaldehyde & other dangerous chemicals).

VOC Independent Testing

Winix proudly state that the Winix Ultimate 5 Stage Air Purifier is in a field of its own when it comes to removing VOCs from the air in our homes. And there’s little doubt that the Activated Carbon filter, as well as Winix PlasmaWaveTM technology are responsible for these high-efficiency rates.

But, here in Australia, we wanted to go one step further, to have our own testing performed too – just to be sure!

So, we enlisted Melbourne-based indoor environment industry expert, Nicole Bijlsma (pictured), CEO of the Australian College of Environmental Studies to carry out independent VOC efficacy testing of our Winix Ultimate 5 Stage Air Purifier.

Nicole completed the VOC air testing in Bayswater, Melbourne in 2017 & had the samples analysed by Prism Analytical Technologies (USA).

VOC Test Results

Quite simply, the results were very clear:

In the official test, “The results indicate a significant reduction in Total VOCs from 98,000ng/L to 20,000 ng/L which equates to an almost 80% reduction of total VOCs within one hour of the air purifier being in use.”*

This is a great result that leaves us wondering, ‘If this is so effective in only one hour, can you imagine how effective it is in cleaning the air in a room all day long?!’

What these VOC test results mean for you

We’ve already established that there are more potentially hazardous chemicals in our homes than we want to even think about! From everyday household cleaners, to furniture materials, to common glues, paints & plastics found in the home; even experts have little knowledge on their potentially long-term & dangerous effects on human health.

Nicole Bijlsma notes that “Outdoor air pollution kills more people in Australia than the road toll, and indoor air quality is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air” (BITRE, 2017; OECD, 2014; US EPA, 2017). …“The Ausclimate air purifier was shown to reduce the chemical load in indoor air by 80% within an hour of use.” (ACES, 2017)

Simply put, these results prove that Ausclimate’s Winix Ultimate 5 Stage Air Purifier will actively remove many of these airborne chemicals straight out of the air in our rooms, as effectively as 80% in one hour! In the big picture, these results are just great news for people with chemical sensitivities (or just wanting to reduce their chemical exposure) because this is real evidence that our Winix Ultimate 5 Stage Air Purifier can effectively protect you & your family from many of these everyday chemical nasties that are found in the common home.

* Testing results provided by the Australian College of Environmental Studies via Prism Analytical Technologies, Inc., the creator of IAQ Commercial Survey. Prism has been performing air quality assessments to industry and environmental consultants since 1995. IAQ Commercial SurveyTM is one of the most advanced, trusted air testing products on the market today for identifying chemical sources and active mould growth. Model tested: Winix Ultimate 5-Stage Air Purifier (AUS-9500). Detailed testing results available on request.

 


 

Thank you, we hope that this information & test results have been helpful & as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Please take a look at our website to find out all about our full Ausclimate WINIX air-purifier range & feel free to get in touch with any questions that you may have. Always happy to help!

A reminder that we are also currently nearing the end of our Ausclimate Christmas Air-Purifier Competition. So please take a gander at our Facebook competition post for your chance to WIN a WINIX Ultimate 5-stage air-purifier of your own!

Cheers,
Russell Bryan
Ausclimate Co-founder
visit the website: