People spend 90% of their time indoors where concentrations of gaseous pollutants are significantly higher than outdoors. The widespread use of new products and building materials, as well as improved insulation for energy efficiency, has resulted in increased concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs originate mainly from paints and solvents, carpets and furniture, and cleaning agents, and are also emitted by humans. Elevated VOC levels can have a negative impact on well being, comfort, and cognitive abilities. Exposure to high levels of VOCs can be avoided or significantly reduced by regular ventilation, air purification and removal of strong VOC sources.
The Total VOC (TVOC) concept has been established as a practical time and cost-effective method of surveying indoor environments for contamination. Atmotube enables measurement of TVOC levels and thus helps to increase the efficiency of ventilation and air purification, and increases awareness of VOC sources and indoor air pollution.
A number of systematic human exposure studies have shown various adverse health effects caused by exposure to elevated VOC levels. Among the effects reported by participants are dryness and irritation of the eye, the nose and the throat, headaches, and dizziness.
Poor indoor air quality can lead to decreased cognitive function resulting in significant impacts on productivity, learning, and safety. Recent studies have demonstrated clear negative effects of elevated VOC levels on cognitive abilities such as strategic thinking and decision making.
The sick building syndrome includes a variety of health and comfort effects associated with the time spent in buildings with, among other factors, elevated VOC levels. Symptoms of the sick building syndrome include headaches, mucous membrane irritation, asthma-like symptoms, skin irritation and dryness.