VOC is short for volatile organic compound. The term VOC is widely used in the environmental industry to refer to chemical contaminants that affect both indoor and outdoor air quality. Standard tests for VOCs exist and are used to monitor air pollution and generation of volatile metabolites during bioremediation, fermentations and other industrial processes.
Examples of VOCs that contribute to indoor air pollution are formaldehydes and phthalates, arising from products such as new carpets or furniture.
VOCs that contribute to outdoor air pollution include methyl chloride and other chlorinated compounds used as industrial solvents.