Fossil fuel combustion, industrial production processes, solvent usage, etc., are potential sources of non-methane (NM) VOCs. Chemical reactions of NMVOCs have effect on human health and ozone layer.
In the atmosphere many VOCs react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) and oxygen (O2) in a complex network of photochemical process. The result of these processes is photochemical formation of ozone (O3) and other oxidants which share the term 'photochemical smog.' Most VOCs do not contribute directly to global warming, but since VOCs cause formation of CO2 and CO2 absorbs infrared light from the sun, all the VOCs indirectly contribute to global warming.
Halogenated volatile organic compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and chlorinated compounds (e.g. tri-chloroethane) contribute significantly to global warming, hundreds or thousands of times more than CO2. Methane (CH4) has a small contribution to photochemical smog formation (about 100 times less than most other VOCs). However, the substance contributes directly and significantly to global warming.
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