Utah has passed air quality guidelines to fight VOCs, easing the burden on commercial air filtration systems when improving indoor air quality. Many small to medium enterprises in Utah are taking steps to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) generated during the production of their products which eases the burden on their commercial air filtration systems. Measures include switching to water-based paints for auto shops and cabinet makers, using electric-powered lawn tools for gardening companies, and adding exhaust controls for coffee roasters.
Volatile organic compounds can be broadly defined as substances that evaporate or otherwise disperse molecules into the air. Typically their smell is one of their most noticeable effects.
Many of the everyday products found at home, in retail shops or in the office, such as paints, solvents, and other chemicals are sources of VOCs.
Utah’s counties of Salt Lake and Davis, as well as parts of Weber, Tooele and Box Elder, produce 35 tons of VOCs a day, according to DEQ data. Solvents account for roughly half of all air pollution emissions from area sources, which include small businesses, light industrial facilities, and homes.
If the region fails to meet the EPA’s standards for ground-level ozone, the DEQ will have to formulate a plan to reduce ozone precursor pollutants by 15 percent over a six-year period.
Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to completely eliminate VOCs inside indoor commercial environments. As mentioned earlier, sources of VOCs are too commonplace. One way to lessen the buildup of VOCs is to open the windows. However, for workplaces and buildings in polluted areas, opening the windows only replaces VOCs with outdoor air pollution. The more practical solution is to install industrial air filtration systems.
There’s no single solution to the VOC problem. On their own, high-efficiency particulate filters cannot completely remove volatile organic compounds from the air as these filters can only target particulate matter. But when paired with molecular filtration solutions, such as those with activated carbon, these air purification systems can be effective at removing both particles and VOCs.
Aside from using a combination of high-efficiency particulate filters and molecular filters, there are other ways to reduce VOC exposure in buildings, including source control (i.e. removing products with high levels of VOCs from the house or workplace), ventilation, and using low-VOC products. Still, any protection is better than none at all.
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