What are V.O.C’s?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a large group of liquids and gases, many of which are colourless and odourless. The liquids easily vaporise at room temperature – i.e. they are ‘volatile’. VOCs are of general concern because of their ability to react with other pollutants (such as nitrogen oxides) in the lower atmosphere to form ozone. High concentrations of ozone at ground level can harm human health, damage crops and affect materials such as rubber. Some VOCs may be directly harmful to human health (e.g. as carcinogens), contribute to global warming (e.g. methane) or destroy stratospheric ozone needed to shield the earth’s surface from harmful ultra violet radiation (such as methyl bromide).

UK Environment Agency