VOCs [Volatile Organic Compounds]

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.

Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

Information obtained from the EPA. Read more here.

vocs voc testing air testing nj

ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING

MOLD. ASBESTOS. LEAD. RADON. VOCS. ALLERGENS.

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SOURCES OF VOCs

Household products, including:

  • paints, paint strippers and other solvents
  • wood preservatives
  • aerosol sprays
  • cleansers and disinfectants
  • moth repellents and air fresheners
  • stored fuels and automotive products
  • hobby supplies
  • dry-cleaned clothing
  • pesticide

Other products, including:

  • building materials and furnishings
  • office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper
  • graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions.
vocs voc testing air testing nj
vocs voc testing air testing nj

VOCs TESTING SAMPLING METHOD TO-15

This method (TO-15) documents sampling and analytical procedures for the measurement of subsets of the 97 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are included in the 189 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) listed in Title III of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. – https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/epa-to-15_0.pdf

Information from our lab on the TO-15 Testing (VOCs) found at https://www.emsl.com/Page.aspx?ID=118

vocs voc testing air testing nj
TO-15 Canister for sample collection

Are occupants developing headaches or a feeling of nausea? It may be prudent for you to include a general volatile organic compound (VOC) scan in your sampling strategy. The best way to sample the widest range of compounds with the greatest of ease is TO-15.

VOCs have been shown to emanate from many building materials including wood, linoleum, paint, plastics, PVC floor covering, glues, wood preservatives, and putty. Mold and other fungi also give off VOCs as they grow and decompose our build materials. These microbial VOCs (MVOCs) have been putatively linked to ill health of building occupants and are indicative of microbial growth somewhere in the building.

For the industrial hygienist, project scientist, or consultant, effectively sampling the air for these VOCs in the field used to be a problem. Traditionally, samples were taken using a sorbent tube and cumbersome sampling pump with the hope that a better method would be developed. With the advances made in instrumentation design and sensitivity, an analytical tool has emerged that provides the best and easiest way to determine the concentration and identity of many organic compounds with a simple and easy sampling technique. This article will guide you through the process of implementing TO-15 testing in your next project.

TO-15 Applications and Projects
TO-15 can be used for most IAQ applications. You can use it for odor identification, general investigations, and clearance. TO-15 can also be used in mold investigations by identifying MVOCs. MVOC concentrations were found to be higher in damp buildings with associated complaints than in non-complaint buildings. If mold spores were not detected in an air sample but odors or other signs point towards mold growth in a building then MVOC sampling may be warranted. MVOCs were found to pass through poly sheeting while spores can not. 3-methyl-1-butanol, 2-hexanone and 2-heptone have been used as fungal growth indicators.

We have seen the mini-can sampling system used to find out the degree of hydrocarbon contamination in a building adjacent to a service station. The investigator found a gasoline-type odor in their workplace one morning and used TO-15 to help determine the source of the odor as well as the concentration. TO-15 was able to show that the contamination was indeed gasoline and possibly from the adjacent service station. TO-15 was also able to show that the air was also contaminated in upstairs office areas where the odor was not as obvious.

The 6-L sampling system was used to find out what was causing an acrid odor on the side of a complainant’s home that receives the early morning sun. Some paints contain biocides designed to suppress mold growth. These paints can off-gas mercaptans which have ‘dirty sock’ odor. TO-15 helped identify the odor compounds.

The mini-can sampling system has been used to perform workplace exposure measurements for various compounds in a pesticide plant. The plant owners were concerned with ambient air concentrations of carbon tetrachloride among other commonly used solvents in that industry.

A facility manager responsible for air quality in a region adjacent to a wastewater treatment plant used a specialized version of TO-15. The laboratory performed SIM (single ion monitoring) analysis using the 6-L sampling system for TO-15. With SIM, the laboratory was able to achieve detection limits 10-100 times lower than with conventional full-scan analysis.

VOCs [Volatile Organic Compounds] FAQ

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. These products can be found in hobby and building materials as well as household products (more information available from the US National Library of Health here) Motor vehicles and vessels emit volatile organic compounds which in turn can generate smog. Chemical use and combustion, wood burning for example, also produce VOCs. When VOCs like those that exhaust from our car combine with nitrogen oxides in the air they form smog.

Exposure to VOCs can have both short-term and long-term health effects on your health.

  • Short-term exposure can cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, headaches, dizziness. Visual disorders, and memory problems.
  • Long-term exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, nausea, fatigue, loss of coordination, dizziness, damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, and cancer.

You can learn more about the effects of volatile organic compounds by clicking here.

If you think you may be experiencing a health impact from exposure, please consult with your primary care physician for further guidance.

They can come from a multitude of different places. For example, some of these places are solvents, paints, adhesives, cleaners, disinfectants, air fresheners, cigarettes, cooking, building materials, sewer gas, from a vehicle, and permeation into the home from the outdoors.

We mostly perform testing for VOCs using a TO-15 Canister as displayed in the VOCs Service section of our website. Most of the time, the canister will be left in the affected area for 24hrs to collect the sample.

We will provide you a full copy of the test results and the relevant reference material about each item on the results. Our tests should be used as part of your research. 

If you think you may be experiencing a health impact from exposure to something in the results, please consult with your primary care physician for further guidance.

This answer is largely predicated on what the test results show. There are options that range from simply opening windows in the home and creating a cross-breeze, ventilating the home with equipment, air purifiers, discontinuing use of products that may be contributing to elevated levels, removing problematic building materials such as flooring, flooring adhesive, drywall, correcting drain issues, and addressing inadequate ventilation in the home. 

The proper course of remediating VOCs should be determined by a professional.

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Done Right Testing is a leading VOC Inspector that provides VOC Inspections and VOC Testing in Newark NJ, Jersey City NJ, Bayonne NJ, Linden NJ, Irvington NJ, Ridgewood NJ, Franklin Lakes NJ, Paramus NJ, Saddle River NJ, Essex Fells NJ, Alpine NJ, Millburn NJ, Rumson NJ, Summit NJ, Bernards Township NJ, Princeton NJ, Chatham NJ, Tenafly NJ, Warren Township NJ, Wyckoff NJ, Montgomery Township NJ, South Orange NJ, Verona NJ, East Windsor NJ, West Windsor NJ, Princeton NJ, Laurence Harbor NJ, Keansburg NJ, Keyport NJ, Sayreville NJ and surrounding areas.

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Doug was great and very helpful! Answered all my questions and was punctual. Really appreciated being treated kindly , and they were very professional.
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DAVID V
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I called Done right testing at the eleventh hour to get an asbestos test performed on the old carpet adhesive left on my subfloor before getting new carpet put in 2 rooms. Mike was at my house within the hour. He was very professional, offered advice on a mold issue as well while he was there and thankfully the result was negative.  I highly recommend their services for promptness, price and the fact that they use a 3rd party lab would have helped for legal reasons if the result had been positive.
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Michael was really helpful in performing an inspection and testing to find an odor that wouldn’t go away in our home. We have a newborn baby, and we were concerned the odor was indicative of problem that could pose potential health issues, especially for our baby. It was a leaky pipe we did not know we had, and the resulting water and mold damage that we were smelling.
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ALEX S
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Great company. Extremely knowledgeable and thorough and very friendly, personable guys.
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