Air & Surface Treatment Technology

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Pathogens

What are VOCs & sources of VOCs?

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.

VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copypaper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

Volatile Organic Compounds

  • They are often chemicals that cause odours and scents

  • They include biological compounds

    e.g. essential oils) and non-biologicals such as solvents, cleaning products, paints, petroleum products, varnishes etc.

  • Many are dangerous to human

    They are not acutely toxic but have long-term health effect

  • Indoors is often 2-5 times higher

    The concentration of VOCs indoors is often 2-5 times higher in concentration than outdoors but can be up to 1,000 times

  • Regulations and Standards

    The allowable concentrations for these VOCs is set through regulations and standards.



A pathogen is an organism that causes disease. Pathogens are different and can cause disease upon entering the body. Pathogens can be transmitted a few ways depending on the type. They can be spread through skin contact, bodily fluids, airborne particles and touching a surface touched by an infected person. There are different types of pathogens (bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses). Examples of viruses include:

  • Common cold

    Adults can experience the common cold between 2 and 4 times a year, and kids can get up to 10 colds a year.

  • Influenza

    Serious viral infection of your lungs and airways

  • Viral gastroenteritis

    Stomach flu

  • Coronavirus