What Does “VOC Compliant” Mean?

“VOC compliant” means that a compound’s level of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, is compliant with a jurisdiction’s regulations. These levels vary based on location; different countries, states, territories and municipalities have different regulations regarding industrial chemicals in general and VOCs in particular. Because of these laws, consumer products such as paint label themselves as being in VOC compliance.

VOCs are organic compounds that evaporate at room temperature; these include commonly used chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and styrene. These chemicals are implicated in a number of health problems, ranging from acute respiratory issues to long-term health concerns such as cancer. Because of this, some jurisdictions limit the amount of VOCs present and mandate that products containing VOCs label themselves.

Paints, adhesives and cleaning supplies are common products that contain VOCs; seek out low-VOC and VOC-compliant versions of these common items. Purchasing products labeled as VOC compliant ensures that an individual is doing business with companies that respect local, state and national environmental laws. It also ensures that the products do not contain unsafe levels of certain industrial chemicals. By using these environmentally conscious products, one limits the exposure he has to volatile chemicals that can carry uncertain health risks.