Organic compounds are used as ingredients in a variety of products, including cleaning products as well as other liquid solutions and solid objects such as furnishings.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases such as carcinogens that are emitted from products that produce adverse health effects in the long and short term. Often, the concentration of VOCs indoors is aided by inadequate ventilation, so an emphasis on indoor air quality when cleaning is important.

As VOC content has been a concern in the janitorial industry, many floor chemical manufacturers have lowered their products’ VOC levels in response. The general rule is, the lower the VOC content, the safer the chemical is for use. In Britain, chemicals that contain less than 8 percent are considered to have low VOC content. In the United States, there is not yet a formal system that measures the percentage of VOC and assigns categories, such as medium and low content, accordingly, but some chemicals carry a low-VOC claim. However, even products with low-VOC content can still emit unsafe levels of VOCs.

It is recommended that cleaning professionals use floor chemicals listed with a low VOC emitting formula to protect the health of building occupants and janitorial workers.