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HHI Releases Fact Sheet on ZERO-VOC

By HHI Staff

The term “Zero VOC” on product labelling – a designation historically used for paint and adhesives, but now finding its way onto cleaning products – is often a misnomer. 

 

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  • Products labelled “Zero VOC” may be absent certain VOCs (e.g., chloroform, ethylene dichloride, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene) under smog-prevention rules, but still contain others. Chemicals that do not create outdoor smog can still be harmful to breathe indoors.
  • “Zero-VOC” may indicate VOCs are merely restricted to lower levels, which, while helpful, is not necessarily “healthy” since even very low levels can have long-term health impacts depending on the mixture, exposure and individual sensitivity.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals often found in cleaning, building, furnishing, and personal care products.
  • "Volatile" means they evaporate or become airborne.
  • "Organic" means they are carbon-based.
  • “Emissions" are levels entering the air from products.
Overall emission rates of so-called “Zero-VOC” products can be extremely high. In one case, total VOC (TVOC) emissions of a “Zero-VOC” flooring adhesive was 40,000 mg/m2.h (milligrams per square meter/per hour) when an accepted safety threshold is just 8 mg/m2.h.

Use of these products should include good ventilation.

Per the US EPA, follow three steps for improving indoor air quality:
  1. Eliminate the source
  2. Ventilate
  3. Filter the air itself.

 

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HHI Releases Fact Sheet on ZERO-VOC:  Created on March 16th, 2015.  Last Modified on March 16th, 2015

 

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