Toxic substances list: volatile organic compounds

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic compounds containing one or more carbon atoms that evaporate readily to the atmosphere. VOCs do not include photochemically non-reactive compounds such as methane, ethane and the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The official VOC definition used by Environment Canada can be found in the publication of the Canada Gazette part II of July 2, 2003.

VOCs are primary precursors to the formation of ground level ozone and particulate matter which are the main constituents of smog. Smog is known to have adverse effects on human health and the environment.

VOC emissions stem from both anthropogenic and natural sources, but it is the anthropogenic sources of VOCs in populated and industrialized areas that are the main contributors to air quality problems. The major anthropogenic sources of concern of VOC emissions in Canada are the transportation sector, the use of consumer and commercial products that contain solvents, some commercial and industrial processes, and residential wood combustion.

There is more than one CAS number that applies to this group of substances.

Risk Assessment


This substance is entering the environment from the following source(s):

Risk Management Strategy

Click on the following link to view strategies and actions recommended to manage risks associated with the substance:


Substances Management Information Line
Chemicals Management Plan
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3
Telephone: 1-800-567-1999 (in Canada) or 819-938-3232
Fax: 819-938-3231

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