Most of the many different gases we carbon units breathe are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which means they evaporate easily and have carbon skeletons.

Testing for VOCs

  • Testing the air:  sniff by nose, or use a combustible gas meter for high levels, or lab analysis of canister samples to scan for many by GC/MS (Method TO-15).
  • Testing surface emissions:  sniff by nose, and use a continuous direct reading combustible gas meter (the Tif#8800-A) with the sensor placed against building or finishing or furnishing materials (to get a rough idea within 30 seconds).

Sources of VOCs

  • New building materials.
  • Particle board (formaldehyde).
  • Solvents in many products, “petroleum hydrocarbon distillates”.
  • Pesticides.

Effects of VOCs

  • Odors.
  • Many other various health effects.

Control of VOCs

  • Use solvents only with good ventilation.
  • Store fuels and solvents outdoors.
  • Air out dry-cleaned clothes.
  • Clean the air with activated carbon “charcoal” filters in an air cleaner.