Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) off-gas from products commonly used or found in public facilities, resulting in decreased indoor air quality (IAQ), occupant health and productivity, and organizational performance.
California's Revised VOC Regulations
The State of California recently completed its revisions to the state's Regulations for Reducing VOC Emissions from Consumer Products.
The amendments, approved by the California Air Resource Board (CARB), target insecticides and cleaning products--specifically aerosol air fresheners--with the intent of significantly reducing VOC content in certain items and eliminating the sale of others that contained a published list of toxic substances.
According to the Final Statement;
The primary purpose of the Proposed Amendments is to lower VOC emissions from the use of consumer products, to reduce the formation of ground-level ozone and help attain national ambient air quality standards.
By helping to expedite attainment of State and federal health-based air quality standards, the Proposed Amendments also provide health and wellness benefits for California residents.
The Proposed Amendments achieve statewide VOC reductions of 3.00 tpd in 2023 and 9.80 tpd in 2031, including reductions of 1.25 tpd in 2023 and 4.03 tpd in 2031 in the South Coast Air Basin.
Proposed Amendments to the Antiperspirants and Deodorants Regulation; Consumer Products Regulation; Aerosol Coating Products Regulation; Alternative Control Plan Regulation; the Tables of Maximum Incremental Reactivity Values; and Test Method 310
Per CARB, the anticipated benefits of the planned actions include:
- Improvements to indoor air quality.
- The prevention of up to three tons of VOC emissions.
- A reduction in toxic air contaminant (TAC) emissions and associated health risks, and;
- A reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
How VOCs Impact Occupant Health
Numerous studies have demonstrated a list of health concerns associated with short and long-term exposure to VOCs and low-quality indoor air.
According to Molekule;
[...] domestic use of household cleaning products has also been associated with adverse health effects.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, people with existing respiratory conditions, young children, and the elderly may be more vulnerable to the effects of VOC exposure.
Use of common cleaning chemicals during pregnancy may cause the child to be born with respiratory health issues.
VOC exposure can also cause long-term health effects, such as chronic respiratory problems, loss of coordination, damage to the kidneys, liver and central nervous system, and cancer.
Other symptoms regularly associated with short-term exposure to VOCs and poor IAQ include:
- Eye and skin irritation.
- Allergic reactions.
- Sore throat.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Dizziness, and;
The symptoms typically disappear after the occupant leaves the building for an extended period--an affliction commonly referred to as Sick Building Syndrome.
Reducing VOC Exposure and Improving Indoor Air Quality
The first step toward reducing occupant exposure to VOCs is source elimination--getting rid of whatever emits the pollution.
Regarding environmental cleaning services, that translates into upgrading product selections for cleaners and disinfectants to a certified, safer choice, fragrance-free solution.
- Increase outdoor airflow through the facility, either through mechanical (HVAC) or natural (open doors and windows) means.
- Upgrade HVAC filters to a minimum MERV-13 where possible.
- Install portable commercial-grade air cleaners in facilities where HVAC upgrades or open doors and windows are not possible.
- Ensure adequate ventilation exists before applying cleaning and disinfectant products known to contain VOCs.
References & Resources
Conventional cleaning products, even in California, are a common source of indoor air pollution that negatively impacts occupant health, cognitive functions, and productivity, ultimately resulting in poor organizational performance.
Increasingly, office workers are aware of the damage poorly maintained facilities have on their long-term health and have begun to pressure employers to improve indoor air quality or contend with the outward migration of skilled labor to greener, healthier, safer pastures.
Upgrading your facility's cleaning and disinfection procedures to enhanced green and sustainable methods will significantly reduce indoor VOCs, improve indoor air quality, and increase workforce job satisfaction and performance.
Onboarding the requisite material resources and skilled labor to ensure high-level outcomes may prove cost-prohibitive for many organizations.
Outsourcing is a proven method for onboarding highly in-demand cleaning and disinfection services and experience for a fraction of the price of maintaining a similar service in-house.
If you would like more information regarding the effectiveness of high-performance infection prevention and control measures, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation on-site assessment of your facility's custodial needs, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield, CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Fresno, CA, call (559) 206-1059
In Valencia, CA, or Santa Clarita, CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Palmdale, CA, or Lancaster, CA, call (661) 371-4756