Now that we have developed a greater awareness of what are VOCs and what classes of molecules characterized it, it is useful to analyze the possible effects within the atmosphere.
In general it can be said that each pollutant has a characteristic time of permanence in the atmosphere, linked to its chemical-physical properties. The greater this time turns out to be, the more the pollutant can be dispersed in the atmosphere for work of winds and currents, altering the chemical balance of the atmosphere itself. For example, many VOCs affect the balance of methane (CH4), prolonging his stay in the atmosphere and thus contributing to the increase of the greenhouse effect.
It is also important to note that many VOCs are dangerous to humans and animals. Benzene, for example, is a carcinogenic compound characterized by high volatility. Formaldehyde is another toxic compound produced in high quantities, and commonly employed in many production processes. Even the halogen compounds have high volatility and toxicity; moreover, being tendentially hydrophobic, they can accumulate in the body.
Each chemical compound deserves a deep analysis, but that is outside the objectives of this article. We’ve seen what VOCs are, by which classes of compounds are characterized and their potential danger for the atmosphere and for living beings.