University of Minnesota
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program

Why Reduce VOCs

Reducing VOC emissions improves public health. Seeing a change in a specific person is difficult because of differences in sensitivities due to age (the very young and very old are most sensitive), physical condition, and existing health issues, but in large populations the effects and costs are significant.

The impacts of VOC reduction on your business will depend on the amount of VOCs used, your procedures, and the kinds of changes you make. Reductions can:

  • Save money:
    • Use the right amount of material for the right purpose
    • Be efficient – use and buy less chemicals
    • There may be the added benefits of using less protective equipment, and having less regulation
  • Result in cleaner work environments, which can reduce the risk of fire and have positive impacts on absenteeism and worker retention
  • Reduce health care costs (even if we do not pay the direct costs of VOC related health care, we all pay the taxes and insurance that cover VOC impacts):
    • Each decrease of 1 ppb ozone  produces an annual health benefit of $35 million in Minnesota in 2020
    • Each decrease of 1 ug/m3 PM2.5 produces an annual health benefit of $2 billion in Minnesota in 2020
    • The EPA estimates the 1990 Clean Air Act will provide a national annual health benefit of $2 trillion by 2020
























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