The Effects of Volatile Organic Compounds

Topics: Volatile organic compound, Gasoline, Organic compound Pages: 3 (1197 words) Published: July 25, 2012
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have become the greatest challenges to the preservation of the environment today. This group of chemicals is used in almost every sphere of life from industries, government institutions and domestically by both an ignorant and knowledgeable public. This paper aims to put to light examples of such compounds, look at the effect on the general populace and the environment and outline possible remedies to negative impacts. At the same time, it is important to look at how these compounds can be used or disposed in a better way for a better environment for both man and nature, a program termed as living green. VOCs are the kind of chemicals that evaporate when exposed to air, a process known as volatilization. The fact that these chemicals contain carbon makes them organic substances. According to Zogorski, these compounds may occur naturally or as a result of human activity while others can result from both sources. It is possible to isolate these compounds from a sample of water by purging a sample with the inert gas helium. These compounds have a lower boiling point than water and can be gaseous even at room temperature. They include propane, formalhyde, benzene and gasoline products. For a long period of time, products containing VOCs have been released into the air, in water and the ground. The compounds have found way into the ground due to spillage, or when rain mixes with emissions from factories and gasoline powered machines. Most of the VOCs get into the ground through the hundreds of septic systems and cesspools. Due to lack of air in the soils below, VOCs usually remain in the ground water since they cannot volatize, until they naturally decay, dilute or biodegrade. While in the water below, the compounds definitely flow into wells and rivers where they can be easily consumed by man and animals. There are thousands of home use products that contain VOCs thus putting the user to risk. Such manufactured...

References: Esposito, Charles. The evolution of low- and zero-VOC paint. 2001. July 14, 2012.
Venn A J, et al. Asthma and the Environment: Effects of volatile organic compounds, damp, and other environmental exposures in the home on wheezing illness in children. November 2003. Web. 9 May 2011.
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