The ABCs of VOCs

By Ursula Leonowicz / 03.28.23

Your home’s indoor air quality is one of the most important improvements you can make

From opting for low or zero VOC paints, varnishes, and dyes to choosing materials that don’t produce off-gassing, there are a number of choices you can make to improve the air quality in your bathroom, while maintaining a look of luxury.

The design industry has been fighting to reduce, if not completely eliminate, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the marketplace, as some are known to have short-term or long-term adverse health effects. While low or no VOC products are becoming more common on the market, we often tend to forget about off-gassing — the airborne release of chemical in vapor form, which lingers long after the “new smell” has subsided, and the subtle odor is almost undetectable.

“I regularly see inquiries coming in from clients who are both health-conscious and looking for eco-friendly options when it comes to VOCs and off-gassing within their home,” says Mark Wolinsky, President of WETSTYLE, “They don’t want products coming into their homes and releasing toxic fumes or strong smells.”

What can one do to avoid VOCs and off-gassing when starting a bathroom remodel?

Preventing toxic fumes from entering the home for any project is by-far the most important off-gassing strategy for designers today. Selecting paints and products that are low-VOC and PVC-free, as well as sourcing fabrics that are without chemical stain repellents, is a good place to start. Consider using furniture made of natural materials instead of composite furniture as VOCs plummet when using materials such as solid wood.

Most solid surface and acrylic based bath fixtures, whether they’re bathtubs, sinks or shower trays, are made from raw materials composed of petrochemical derivatives and they generally contain large amounts of benzene, styrene and other binding agents to transform them from a liquid to a solid. In fact, most vanities on the market contain formaldehyde.

Environmentally-Friendly Materials and Practices

WETSTYLE’s solution to the problem was to create WETMAR BiO, an eco-friendly thermo-insulating material that substitutes the petrochemical additives that are commonly used in the industry with a recipe composed of Mother Earth’s natural ingredients.

A first of its kind, WETMAR BiO is a mixture of soy extract and a combination of silica, quartz and marble. It is unique to WETSTYLE, and was specifically developed to make architecturally unique products that can be molded in one seamless piece.

“We started moving away from pure polyester resin in 2011 or 2012, after attending a few manufacturing shows in California, and moved towards an organic-based resin that leverages vegetable-based extracts to lower the VOC content and make it more environmentally friendly,” says Wolinsky.

As with its composite material WETMAR BiO, WETSTYLE is also committed to using environmentally-friendly materials for all of its wood furniture. In fact, all of WETSTYLE’s vanities are formaldehyde free and have zero VOCs, as the materials it uses are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Woods and are California Air Resources Board (CARB) Compliant.

“Because of the bio-based materials we use, the products we offer are much healthier for you and your home,” says Wolinsky, who’s also at the head of the WETSTYLE Design Lab, an innovation lab dedicated to inventions in bathroom design, fixtures and materials.

Improving indoor air quality is essential for maintaining a healthy home environment. When it comes to bathroom remodels, selecting low or zero VOC products, PVC-free materials, and natural fabrics can significantly reduce the amount of off-gassing in your home. By choosing eco-friendly materials, such as WETMAR BiO and FSC Certified Woods, you can create a luxurious bathroom that is also safe for you and your family. With increasing awareness about the harmful effects of VOCs and off-gassing, it is important to make conscious decisions that prioritize the health and well-being of your loved ones.


By Ursula Leonowicz