VOCs - Volatile Organic Compounds are gases given off by a number of indoor sources. Formaldehyde is one of the most common VOCs. Formaldehyde is a colourless gas with an unpleasant smell. It is common in many building materials such as plywood, particleboard, and glues.
Formaldehyde is also found in furnishings (furniture, drapes and carpets) and in some types of foam insulation. Other sources of VOCs and formaldehyde include burning of fuels: gas, wood, kerosene, and tobacco products.
VOCs also come from personal care products such as perfumes and hair spray, from cleaning agents and dry cleaning fluid, paints, lacquers and varnishes, and from copying and printing machines.
VOCs can be released from a product for several years, though the amounts given off tend to be less as the product ages and "dries out".