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”.
Effects of VOCs
- 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.