Health & Safety

What is a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are defined by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as organic compounds which participate in atmospheric photochemical reactions. In terms that we can all understand, a VOC is anything that evaporates and causes air pollution.

Not a VOC:

  • Water: Evaporates but doesn't cause harmful air pollution.
  • Resin: Doesn't have the ability to evaporate.
  • Pigment: Dry powder, therefore doesn't evaporate.

Solvents used in inks and associated products are the main concern to the coating industry. Solvents have the ability to evaporate and meet the criteria of an air pollutant. (Examples of VOCs are xylene and toluene.)