Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Organic Compounds – molecules of these compounds contain carbon atoms. Carbon atoms bond well with each other to form molecular chains; they also bond with other atoms, mainly hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur to form a great variety of compounds. Some of the compounds have low boiling points causing them to evaporate readily; these are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs and Health

Some VOCs are directly injurious to health. In addition, they react with other chemicals in the air to produce ozone and other pollutants, (Smog).

VOC’s are found in and are produced from crude oil.

Examples

Benzene – a primary building block; used to make many chemical compounds
Ethylene – the basis for many chemical compounds including polyethylene
Toluene – a solvent for paints; a component of gasoline; used to make explosives

The Sarnia-Lambton Environmental Association analyzes air samples on an hourly basis and records concentrations for each of the 50 compounds listed below.

benzene
bromoform
1,3-butadiene
butane
cis-2butene
trans-2-butene
1-butene
isobutylene
carbon tetrachloride
chlorobenzene
chloroethane
chloroform
chloromethane
cumene
cyclohexane
1,2-dichlorobenzene
1,4-dichlorobenzene
1,2-dichloroethane
1,1-dichloroethane
1,1-dichloroethylene
trans-1,2-dichloroethylene
1,2-dichloropropane
1,3-diethylbenzene
1,4-diethylbenzene
ethylbenzene
ethylene dibromide
2-ethyltoluene
3-ethyltoluene
4-ethyltoluene
hexane
MTBE (methyl-tertiary-butyl ether)
Napthalene
octane, normal
1-octene,
pentane
perchloroethylene
propylbenzene
propylene oxide
styrene
toluene
1,1,1-trichloroethane
1,1,2-trichloroethane
trichloroethylene
1,2,3-trimethylbenzene
1,2,4-trimethylbenzene
1,3,5-trimethylbenzene
vinyl chloride
meta-xylene
ortho- xylene
para-xylene