How do you test for VOCs? What does VOC testing mean? Volatile Organic Compounds, sampling method, test report and more.
Last year, the US emitted almost 12 million tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Although this was a 50% reduction from the previous year, it’s still quite significant.
VOCs emitted into the atmosphere can adversely affect indoor air quality. Inhaling these types of pollutants can be dangerous and have severe health consequences. Unfortunately, they can also react with other atmospheric gases to form additional contaminants.
One way to safeguard your employees from inhaling VOCs is by conducting VOC testing. But before you do, you should learn more about what it means and what testing entails. Read on to find out.
What Are Volatile Organic Compounds?
Volatile organic compounds are gases that can contain various chemical elements. They occur naturally during animal and plant respiration, as well as during decomposition.
They can enter the atmosphere during industrial manufacturing as well. They’re emitted from thousands of products while they’re in use too. This can include products your employees may have to handle while at work.
Unfortunately, concentrations of VOCs are usually higher indoors. Inhaling them can be extremely harmful.
What Does VOC Testing Mean?
VOC testing is a method used to determine their levels in the atmosphere. How do you test for VOCs? This involves using a VOC sampling method.
After collecting samples, analysis takes place using one of the various techniques available. This includes gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis, also more commonly known as GC-MS.
GC-MS allows you to identify unknown elements in compounds. It can involve analyzing them down to the smallest possible component. It also quantifies them.
A VOC test report provides the results of the analysis once completed. It includes:
- Information about the sample
- A brief evaluation of the results
- Test methods used
- Sample preparation, including any deviations
- General test parameters
It ends with the results and an evaluation and summary of the same.
The Importance of VOC Testing
Exposure to VOCs, which may include inhaling them, can result in:
- Difficulty breathing
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
- Damage to the central nervous system and organs
Not all VOCs have these effects, but many do. Some can even cause cancer. VOC testing can prevent some of this.
Eliminating VOCs can include using cleaning products that don’t contain VOCs. You can then use them to clean furniture, carpets, blinds, or drapes.
It’s also vital that you improve and monitor the ventilation in your building. Have your air vents cleaned regularly.
Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and replace them when needed. Routinely have your HVAC system inspected and maintained.
Get Your Testing Done by the Experts
There are many instances when production can lead to the emission of harmful gases. Protecting your employees should be a high priority. Conduct VOC testing if you’re uncertain about your indoor air quality.
VOC testing measures and analyzes the quantity of these harmful compounds in the air. But testing isn’t straightforward. It requires environmental expertise and experience.
Atlantic Environmental has both. We’ve been providing testing/sampling services for over 40 years. We can for your organization as well. We can also check your HVAC system. Contact us to learn more!
We provide VOC testing, sampling and analysis services to NJ, PA, NY, DE, CT, MD, and VA.