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Definition: Offgassing

That sharp odor emanating from the paint can not only smells bad, it's also bad for you. Many building materials release chemicals into the air through evaporation, which is called offgassing. Materials such as paints, stains, varnishes, carpet, insulation, flooring, kitchen cabinets and countertops, plywood, particleboard, and paint strippers can produce significant offgassing in your home or office. This evaporation can continue for years after the products are initially installed, which means you continue to breathe these chemicals as you work, sleep, and relax in your home or office.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns about the health effects of poor indoor air quality from the offgassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When you're tackling a home renovation project, reduce the potentially dangerous health effects associated with offgassing by using low-VOC finishes and materials.

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