VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds

Chemical compounds released into the environment through both nature and manmade substances. VOC’s are common byproducts of cleaning solutions and even vinyl flooring and carpet. VOC’s are often found in water either through environmental exposure or treatment.

VOC’s can enter ground water from a variety of sources. For example Benzene may enter ground water from gasoline or oil spills on the ground surface or from leaking underground fuel tanks. Other commonly detected VOCs are dichloromethane (methylene chloride), an industrial solvent; trichloroethylene, used in septic system cleaners; and tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene), used in the dry-cleaning industry.

Environmental VOC’s are known to cause:

  • Eye irritation/watering
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Asthma exacerbation
  • Allergic skin reaction
  • Memory impairment
  • Visual disorders

Long term exposure to VOC’s have been linked to:

  • Cancer
  • Damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Loss of coordination