Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are toxic substances that are found in most building materials and give paint that “fresh paint” smell, that really isn’t fresh at all! As more information comes to light on the health impacts of using materials with VOCs, many people have opted for low-VOC and zero-VOC products to help ward allergies and chemical sensitivities.


Cheyenne air is crisp and clean as it edges the expansive Rocky Mountain range, and new homeowners want to keep it that way! If you’re planning a new home design with Homes By Guardian, implementing materials with low-VOC is advantageous for keeping the air-quality clean and pristine, just as Cheyenne would want. Learn all about VOCs and how they can be implemented in your new home design.

Indoor Air Quality and VOCs    


According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality is three times more polluted than that of the outdoor environment, which is considered to be one of the top five hazards to human health. Part of the reason that makes indoor air quality so dangerous and destructive are impart to VOCs in common building materials.


What makes the indoor air quality so hazardous?


Because VOCs are in a variety of products and materials when they’re all combined and saturate one place — your home — they can begin to have an adverse effect.


VOCs can become an issue because of the off-gassing they produce. That “new smell” that can always be identified is actually off-gassing, emitting the VOCs into the indoor environment.


VOCs are common in the following household products:


  • Paint and paint thinners
  • Varnishes
  • Wax
  • Carpet and flooring
  • Moth repellents
  • Air Fresheners


How a high VOC concentration can affect your health:


  • Eye, throat, and nose irritations
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Damage to the Central Nervous System
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness


What’s the difference in VOC products?


There are now products on the market that offer low-VOC and zero-VOC products to help keep your family safe and healthy, and understanding the difference between the two can help you make the most informed decision.


  • Low-VOC – Any products listed as “low-VOC” have a reduced amount of VOCs present, so they aren’t offgassing as much as the other traditional products. It’s important to note that when it says “low-VOC” it’s just less and there is no standard of measure, so you don’t really know how much less.


  • Zero-VOC – These products contain no VOCs, but that doesn’t always mean they’re the safest as they still emit a certain amount of chemicals. This is still the best option to improve your home’s air quality and avoid any of the health ramifications.


Do I really need a low-VOC product?


The choice to opt for a low-VOC product is personal, but there are some benefits to doing so. The biggest benefit is the smell — low-VOC products have very little odor, so you don’t have to open all the windows and run fans to try and get the smell to go away. They’ve also come a long way and have good coverage, durability, and dry quickly.


There are some downsides to low-VOCs. When the VOCs are lessened or removed, other additives and chemicals are added and can be just as harmful, so it’s crucial for you to research the paint you want and understand all the chemicals that are being used. When in doubt, it’s also a good idea to hit your home improvement store and ask for some advice.


Research the least toxic paint.


Better paints are labeled with things such as “natural” or “non-toxic” in addition to being low- or VOC-free. These labels generally will not contain a product with other harmful chemicals.


Indoor air quality is more harmful than the outdoor air largely because of VOCs. To reduce your VOC impact in your new home build, look for low-VOC and zero-VOC products in addition to a label such as “non-toxic” or “natural.”  


For more information on how we can help make your home as healthy as possible, contact us at Homes By Guardian today!