Volatile organic compounds

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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) refer to organic chemical compounds which have significant vapor pressures and can affect the environment and human health. VOCs are released from man-made sources such as gasoline (petrol), paints, solvents, pesticides, and biogenic sources, such as pine and citrus tree emissions.[1][2]

VOCs can react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) released from sources such as coal plants to form smog - photochemical smog is the chemical reaction of sunlight, nitrogen oxides and VOCs in the atmosphere, which leaves airborne particles (called particulate matter) and ground-level ozone (smog).[1]



  1. 1.0 1.1 "What is Smog?", Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, CCME.ca
  2. "Coal Power: Air Pollution," Union of Concerned Scientists, accessed September 2010

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