The ABCs of VOCs

April 14, 2021


Safe Use of Paints

Channel Lumber is a leader in Green Building, and using safe and sustainable products. We support the use of safe and sustainable products in all aspects of development and construction.  

So what is a VOC? The acronym VOC stands for "volitile organic compound". In the construction world this includes any building materials that may be a health risk to people who are near them due to off-gasing. 

These materials emit, in most cases, toxic gases which can cause harm to the respiratory system, and other organs. This doesn't necessarily mean they should not be used, however taking proper safety precautions keep workers safe. 

Paint is the leading way that VOCs are introduced. When you smell fresh paint, you are inhaling VOCs. And this can affect your health. There are basically two categories of regulated VOC. The categories are "low VOC" and "no VOC". These essentially boil down to two government standards as a way to assess the health risk involved with using these products. It should be noted that a product labeled "no VOC", may actually contain VOCs, however the levels may be so low the government deems it to not be a health hazard. 

We recommend that you research the VOCs involved with any phase of development. There are specifications of how, for instance, a VOC painted wall can be cleaned. Also, how often they can be cleaned, and what products are best to use as to not damage the finish. 

As always, we enourage you to contact us with questions about sustainable and Green building, and to look at our projects

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