What Exactly are VOCs and Why Do They Matter?

What Exactly are VOCs and Why Do They Matter?

Retique It® Gets Western with Annie Em Home Reading What Exactly are VOCs and Why Do They Matter? 4 minutes Next Clean and Easy Light Wood Finish

You hear us talk about VOCs all the time, but did you ever wonder exactly what VOC's are?  VOC's stand for Volatile Organic Compounds.  These are a large group of chemicals that are found in many products used in building and cleaning our homes.   These chemicals emit gases that can be harmful to our health.  Common examples of VOCs you might find in household products are ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene, chloride, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, and xylene.   


Sources of VOCs

VOCs can be found in many household products like paint, cleaning products, building materials and even cosmetics.

Here are some common Sources of VOCs that are listed by the Dept. of Health. In addition you can refer to the Consumer Product Information Database to learn more about what is in these products. 

Building Materials Home Products Activities
Paint, varnishes, caulks, adhesives Air Fresheners, and cleaning products Smoking
Carpet, vinyl flooring Cosmetics Dry Cleaning
Composite wood products Fuel oil, gasoline Wood Burning
Upholstery and foam Cooking and some hobbies


How VOCs Can Effect our Health and What You Can Do To Avoid Them 

Once these chemicals are in our homes they release gases into the air that we breathe.   Sometimes theses can be smelled, but not always.  The risk of heath effect depends on how much of the chemicals are in the air and for how long they are inhaled.  An individual exposed to VOCs at a low level for long periods of time might experience respiratory issues, headaches, dizziness and even nausea. Particularly individuals with a sensitivity to chemicals, and it might make the symptoms worse for someone suffering from asthma. The effects for chronic exposure is unclear but it is suspected that some are carcinogens and have the potential to cause cancer. 

In order to protect our health, the federal and state governments have set limits on the amount of VOCs a product can contain and currently have several accepted methods of testing that over the years have become much more accurate.  The federal government caps the VOC content in paint at 250 grams per liter (g/l) for flat finishes and 380 g/l for other finishes like low-luster, semi-gloss, etc.

While it is impossible to avoid all VOCs you can limit your exposure by being careful to properly ventilate when using oil based products and certain cleaning products that are known to have higher VOCs.  And of course, you can choose to use water based products like the ones at Retique It®, which contain very low to NO VOCs. 

Retique It® and VOC's 

One of Retique It®'s major goals is to offer products that are not only easy and fun to use, but that are safe for you and your family.  It is of the utmost importance that we manufacture products are not detrimental to your health. 

To achieve some finishes, you have to use oil based products and while we do have some products that do contain under the federal limit of VOC's, we have chosen to keep these products to a minimum.  We have instead put our focus on bringing you a full line of water-based DIY products that are either very low or NO VOCs at all that you can feel good about using.   Among the products in this category you will find both our Renaissance Furniture and Cabinet Paint and Ultratique (all-in-one paint).  All of our wood products, such as our Retique It® Liquid Wood, Wood'n Stain, Wood'n Primer and all of our water based gel stains are all low to No VOCs.  We also manufacture Tripletique which is a water based top coat that is considered a water-based epoxy alternative, giving you a hard shiny finish without all the harmful effects.   Tripletique topcoat is one of many of the crowd favorites becase it saves so much time and gives off minimal odor.  Retique It® will continue to develop new and innovative products to our product line that consumers can use safely in their own homes and are sure to love. 


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