Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a set of substances belonging to different chemical classes that easily evaporate at room temperature and spread from materials and products into the surroundings. VOCs particularly affect indoor air quality. More than 300 different volatile organic compounds have been identified and many of them are primarily found indoors. They degas from construction materials, furniture, etc. If the content of VOCs is too high, a poor indoor environment can have different health effects. Breathing low levels of VOCs for longer periods of time can cause irritation and may increase risk of health problems, some of the substances are carcinogenic.
The houses are built ever more airtight to save energy therefore the question to reduce VOC level indoor has become important topic and requirements have been set for the chemicals used indoors. As the European Union has not yet introduced overall regulation the countries are regulating the VOCs degassing concentration by themselves to protect health. In Europe, there are 3 main classifications that proof the low VOC of building materials and therefore offer customer a better indoor environment: