Mexico, under a cloud of pollution – Mexico – North America © ALTITUDE/Arthus-Bertrand Yann
Air pollution is often associated with a thick cloud above cities. But what is invisible often poses the biggest threat. Air pollution inside buildings is five times more deadly than air pollution outside as the concentration of certain pollutants in an enclosed space can be up to 15 times higher. The main culprits: volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These omnipresent gases escape from the soil, the walls and our furnishings. We breathe them in without realising the effects they can have on health: from the irritation of mucous membrane to cancer. Paint, solvents, varnish, glue, grease removers, cleaning products, plywood… Many products we use on a daily basis contain VOCs. In 2012, it will be compulsory to label building and decorating materials that emit VOCs. In the meantime, you can air out your home daily.