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Watching Paint Dry… What’s Actually Happening?

June 16, 2014

Tips for Everyday Reduction of VOCs

Welcome back. This is our 4th and final post in a series about ways to make the air we breathe at home, healthier.   We’ve talked about VOC’s, how they affect our health and begun to consider how to minimize hazardous VOCs in our homes. In this post we offer the following healthier cleaning and personal care product ideas:personal care choices

  1. Avoid fragrances in home cleaning and personal care products.

The Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE) tells us

Some fragrance ingredients, such as phthalates, musk xylene, toluene and others, have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption and other harmful effects….” and goes on to distinguish heartleaf_philodendronbetween “fragrance free” and “unscented”:

Some products labeled “unscented” contain masking agents to cover the smells of other ingredients. These masking agents are often synthetic fragrances. Fragrance-free products, on the other hand, are likely to be totally free of fragrances. In the absence of fragrance-free products, unscented products are acceptable alternatives.

2. Use plants. NASA1 says, house plants are very effective at removing VOC’s from our indoor air; although to be true to readers; plants may work best under experimental conditions.

3. Have fun, keep it simple & make your own home andbakingSodaProdPg personal vinegarcare products.  This way you know and control the ingredients and save money. Examples:

– clean the tub/ shower with baking soda.

– Wipe windows and hardwood with vinegar.lemons

The David Suzuki Foundation and Queen of Green share some secrets and recipes for cleaning and Downloadable Green   Cleaning Recipes and personal care products.


boraxThis 4 part series on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) provided definitions of VOCs, identified some sources of VOCs, listed adverse health effects of VOCs, and demonstrated ways to reduce our exposure to VOCs in our homes. We have relied on VOC emitters for years; using them in construction, cleaning and fuel. Recognizing them and finding healthier options for everyday life is a liberating process. Baby steps.castile3


1. The Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE)


3. Healthy Housing: Practical Tips for your Homeoranges

4.Previous posts in this Series on VOCs: Thinking of Sprucing up the House?; Indoor air, VOCs and our Health and Reducing VOCs in Your House

Submitted by Health Services