Monitoring for Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are carbon-containing chemicals that are present in the gaseous phase. Concentrations of VOCs tend to be higher in the indoor air than outdoors because of the release of compounds from materials in the indoors and the reduced ventilation.
Common sources of VOCs in the indoor environment include paints, perfumes, cleaning products, copying and printing machines, and building materials.
A variety of chemicals that fall under the classification of VOCs can cause adverse health effects including irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; skin irritation, headaches, nausea and dizziness. High concentrations of some chemicals can cause more severe damage to the liver, kidney, or central nervous system. Some VOCs are suspected or known carcinogens.
AirVironment Canada has worked with businesses and home oowners to test for VOCs in the air and identify their sources and potential mitigation methods. Our experience includes testing for formaldehyde (common in particleboard, glue, fabrics and carpets), BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene) and other aromatics, and chlorinated organics. We also provide testing to determine exposure risks and compliance with occupational exposure limits. Our clients have been diverse and have included manufacturing plants, beauty salons, auto shops, and office buildings.
USEPA - The US Environmental Protection Agency provides information on VOCs including health effects and guidelines for exposure.
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Health Canada - Health Canada provides information on the health effects of VOCs and ways to reduce exposure to VOCs in the indoors.
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