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What's That Smell?

Sign #10 – Indoor Environmental Quality - Find out why you’re not experiencing that surprisingly unhealthy “new building smell”

paint cans, swatches, brushes in bright colorsOne of the most enjoyable aspects of driving home from the car dealer with a new vehicle is the popular “new car smell”. That distinctive odor emanates from the combination of plastics, adhesives, upholstery and other materials in a small confined space that aren’t necessarily healthy for you.

Similarly but less recognizable is the “new building smell”. A mixture of aromas from new paint and cabinetry to coatings and finishing treatments can lead to a variety of new smells. The health significance of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in indoor environments is an area of ongoing debate—although there has been recent significant focus on the level of VOC exposure. The levels of VOC’s in the PS building at SBVC has been significantly reduced because of the paints, adhesives and flooring materials specified and installed which have limited amounts of these chemicals.

Consequently, your best bet is that your nose is noticing the latest experiment in the Chemistry lab on the 3rd floor!