Welcome back to this series of posts talking about smoke and your health. Glad you found your way back to us. Hope this information helps you out. Let me know if you have any questions.
As I mentioned before, VOCs are just one component of smoke. VOCs are chemical compounds that turn in to gas very easily at room temperature making it very easy for them to find their way to your nose. They aren’t the worst part of the smoke as they only make up a small portion of the overall smoke you’re breathing- but they are an obnoxious part. The part that makes your eyes sting and water, gives you headaches and a scratchy throat and makes you feel generally uncomfortable. You usually hear about VOCs when talking about paints and solvents and you know how nasty that stuff can be.
The good news is you can get filters to remove VOCs from your home, most commonly in the form of an activated carbon pre-filter in a portable air cleaner. The bad news is that the filter gets saturated pretty quickly. So unless you’re going to change them out often they won’t do you much good. They can also get pretty spendy. If you’re one of the folks that VOCs really bother though, it may be worth the extra investment. Check out the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare website for more information.
Also, you need to know wearing a paper mask or even an N95 mask WILL NOT protect you from VOCs. You may look totally awesome in one but if VOCs are your nemesis, they won’t help.
My next post, probably tomorrow, will talk about what Particulate Matter is and what you could do to protect yourself from PM pollution. If you feel like getting extra credit or have more health related questions, you can check out the Idaho Health and Welfare’s page dedicated to wildfire smoke. Hope you find your way back to us. Talk to you soon!