Introduction: Most human environments are characterised by the presence of a large number of chemical substances which belong, for the most part, to the group of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
Background: The first epidemiological transverse studies have revealed that respiratory symptoms could be related to high domestic exposure to VOC. More recently, the results of longitudinal studies have suggested a possible influence of VOC exposure on the immune status of the newborn child after maternal exposure, the enhancement of sensitisation and the risk of asthma or respiratory symptoms.
Viewpoint and conclusions: Further studies are needed to understand the mechanisms underlying the health effects of VOC. These should rely on greater knowledge of the individual exposure concentrations of these compounds and their sources. Proposals to improve the indoor environment could be made to reduce exposure and prevent the health effects of VOC.