Study Describes Levels and Sources of Volatile Organic Compounds in Homes of Children with Asthma

Many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are classified as known or possible carcinogens, irritants, and toxicants, and VOC exposure has been associated with the onset and exacerbation of asthma. A study, published in the January 2014 journal, Indoor Air: International Journal of Indoor Environment and Health, characterizes VOC levels in 126 homes of children with asthma in Detroit, Michigan. Identified emission sources included cigarette smoking, solvent-related emissions, renovations, household products, and pesticides. The effect of nearby traffic on indoor VOC levels was not distinguished. While concentrations in the Detroit homes were lower than levels found in other North American studies, many homes had elevated VOC levels, including compounds that are known health hazards. The authors conclude: “Thus, the identification and control of VOC sources are important and prudent, especially for vulnerable individuals. Actions and policies to reduce VOC exposures, for example, sales restrictions, improved product labeling, and consumer education, are recommended.” View the article here.