Volatile organic compounds Organic solvents Unburned hydrocarbons (HC) Hazardous air pollutants (HAP) Air toxics.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals with boiling points below 250°C and include naturally occurring as well as human-made chemical substances. Because of their high vapor pressures at room temperature they tend to evaporate or even sublimate from their liquid or solid form and enter the ambient air.
VOCs are the basic compound of most scents and odors but as they include a wide range of different chemicals, some of them may also have adverse health effects.
These VOCs are typically not acutely toxic, but can cause harm to human health and the environment when released on a long-term scale.
Per year 142 Mt of carbon is emitted as anthropogenic VOC. Paints and coatings are major sources of these emissions, as solvents are required to create protective or decorative surfaces. The most common VOCs are aliphatic hydrocarbons, ethyl acetate, glycol ethers and acetone. These emissions are regulated by law and have to be reduced with a suitable air purification system.