(pronounced as initials: vee-oh-seez)
The initials V-O-C stand for “volatile organic compound,” which is essentially any organic compound which evaporates readily to the atmosphere. Why are we listing this term in the DESIGN SPEAK section” Because they are a hot topic in the growing Sustainable Design trend. VOCs contribute significantly to photochemical smog production and certain health problems. These organic substances easily become vaporous / gaseous, and they are often used as quick dry solvents which, upon evaporation, give off volatiles, an increasing environmental concern. You know that “new car smell” or the lingering aroma hanging in the air after the installation of new carpet, hard-surface flooring, paint, or wallcovering” VOCs! Therefore, in an effort to improve the health of the planet, as well as the health of the end-users of their products, many manufacturers have developed (and are continually refining) production methods to lower, and ultimately eliminate, VOCs in their products.