VOC stands for volatile organic compound, a term that refers to any carbon-containing chemical that evaporates easily at room temperature. VOCs are generated from industrial and household products as well as daily activities.
VOCs are emitted from several building materials, such as paint and carpets. They are also common in household and personal care products, such as air fresheners and cosmetics. Activities that people perform on a regular basis, such as dry cleaning and cooking with wood-burning stoves, also generate VOCs. Exposure to excessive amounts of VOCs may produce short-term health effects such as nasal irritation and long-term health effects such as cancer.