On April 20, 2010, an explosion on a BP drilling rig that was 42 miles offshore of Venice, Louisiana killed 11 workers and resulted in the largest unintentional offshore oil spill in history. Although the oil leak was purportedly stopped in July, Gulf Coast residents and the nation wait anxiously to see how this massive oil spill will affect the surrounding ecosystem.
As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been closely monitoring water and air conditions in the Gulf Coast region. To date, the EPA has not found elevated levels of toxins in collected water samples or waste samples. However, the government agency has reported evidence of nickel that exceeds chronic aquatic life benchmarks in sediment samples as well as odor-causing pollutants present near the gulf shore region. Luckily, these odors are at low levels and are not causing serious air pollution. The EPA does note that these noxious odors may cause uncomfortable effects like headaches, eye, nose, and throat irritation, and nausea.
In addition to these findings, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPC) has received 1,135 exposure calls from states as far away as Alaska and California—not to mention calls from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The AAPC reports that the vast majority of these calls have resulted from inhalation.
While debris from cleanup efforts continues to wash ashore along the Gulf of Mexico and debates over predicted damage rage on, one thing is for sure, fumes from the oil spill are definitely present. In fact, many Gulf Coast states are still encouraging residents near affected areas to properly ventilate their homes and avoid strenuous outdoor activity, especially individuals with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
A statement from the State of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Office of Health Services points out that the exposure fumes are primarily volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. VOCs are organic compounds used in a variety of household products, such as cleaning supplies, paints, paint strippers, building materials, and even furniture. These compounds are also, of course, present in gasoline. Gasoline specifically emits the following VOCs: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and naphthalene.
Air purifiers specifically designed to remove odors from indoor environments are great solutions for tackling harmful VOCs, whether they stem from an environmental situation out of your control or household pollutants. For example, the IQAir GC Series Air Purifier features customizable gas phase filters that address a variety of airborne gases, odors, and chemicals—including VOCs. The VOC filter consists of 10 pounds of granular activated carbon to effectively absorb and eliminate harmful fumes in areas up to 900 square feet. Thanks to triple-seal filter technology, you can rest assured that harmful VOCs are permanently removed from your indoor environment. A convenient remote control, soft-touch electronic control panel, six purification speeds, multiple display languages, and even more user-friendly options ensure that you can rest easily while your IQAir air purifier works hard to remove VOCs.
In addition to an activated carbon filter, the Alen A375UV Ultra Air Purifier also employs ultraviolet (UV) lamps that contain Photo-Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) technology to reduce the presence of VOCs. This Alen air purifier is also an ideal choice for environments where multiple allergen triggers are present since it is equipped with HEPA filtration to remove 99.97% of airborne irritants 0.3 microns and larger, such as pollen, dust, animal dander, dust mites, and mold, from your home or office.
For those seeking a heavy-duty, all-purpose air purifier for controlling VOC fumes and other airborne irritants, check out the Allerair 5000 Vocarb Air Purifier.Â This comprehensive air purifier includes HEPA filtration, two antimicrobial filters to stop the growth of microorganisms, and 18 pounds of high-quality activated carbon to ensure that your air is exceptionally clean and healthy. The Allerair air purifier effortlessly covers up to 1,500 square feet and comes with a 10-year-limited warranty.
If you aren't quite sure if you need an air purifier for VOCs or if VOCs are even present in your home or office, use our Organic Vapor Test Kit to detect the presence of harmful gases in your environment. This do-it-yourself test kit includes everything you need to conduct a complete organic vapor screening on your indoor air. The kit identifies more than 40 organic chemicals and more than 50 VOCs, including benzene and toluene. Plus, it includes lab fee costs for Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory, which is accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association's (AIHA) Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program (EMLAP #102795) for bacteriology, mycology, and microscopy.
If you are a resident of the Gulf Coast, donâ€™t disregard headaches, nausea, or allergy-related symptoms. These symptoms could be warning signs that VOCs are present in your indoor environment. By adding an air purifier that targets VOCs to your home or office, you can help protect yourself and your family during these uncertain times.
For more information on a specific air purifier or any of our other products that can improve your indoor air, review our extensive product listings and visit our Knowledge Center. Not sure what's best for you? We can take the guesswork out of decision-making. Contact one of our air treatment specialists toll-free at 1-800-934-9194. We want to help make your indoor environment healthy and comfortable.