Definition - What does Low VOC mean?

Low VOC refers to volatile organic compounds that are not harmful to the environment and humans. It mostly refers to paints and other products that have a very low or zero VOC, e.g. sealants, adhesives and cleaners. Low VOCs are good for both the environment and living organisms.

Conventional paint contains a higher level of VOCs that are released into the air and that cause ozone depletion. Low-VOC products contain a lower amount of VOC content than conventional paints and create no impact on the ozone layer.

Corrosionpedia explains Low VOC

VOCs can be natural or man-made, and are found in the air. Low-VOC is a general term that refers to a wide range of VOC contents that are much lower than conventional products that contain VOCs. Low-VOC or zero-VOC paints typically contain VOC content of less than 5 grams per liter.

In the chemical industry, low VOC is used to describe a product with VOC content at or below 150 g/L. Ultra-low-VOC products have VOC content that's below 50 g/L. Low-VOC products typically have little or no odor.

VOCs produce harmful ozone by reacting with oxygen in the presence of sunlight. This ozone is corrosive to man-made materials. It aggravates the deterioration and fading of certain paints. It also plays a crucial role in global warming. VOCs are greenhouse gases. Therefore, VOCs have a significant impact in the creation of the greenhouse effect.

There are many low or no-VOC building materials used in making constructions. They are:

  • Less pollutive paints, adhesives
  • Solvents, cleaning agents
  • Caulks, wood products
  • Carpets and sealants

Low-VOC materials help to reduce the emission of smog-forming compounds when used in construction and remodeling projects. They also help to maintain the quality of air indoors.

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