Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are a group of chemicals found in a variety of different materials. When interacting with Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), these chemicals evaporate and contaminate the air. While these chemicals can be found outside, it is estimated that concentrations of VOCs are 5 times greater indoors.
VOCs such as benzene, formaldehyde, acetone, and ethanol are present in a variety of common products, from air fresheners to disinfectants. They are also present in several materials used in the construction of a home, including paint, carpeting, vinyl flooring, and even glues.
While VOCs have varying toxicity levels, high concentrations of VOCs in your home can be extremely detrimental to your health. Health effects range from milder dizziness, fatigue, and headaches to more extreme respiratory issues and even cancer.
Ground-level ozone is a common concern in Texas and New Mexico, created by the reaction NOx and VOCs in direct sunlight. Ozone not only has a harmful health impact when inhaled but can also have a negative impact on local plant life.