VOC Testing

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The term VOC is an acronym for “volatile organic compounds.” These gases are released from several products and materials for building processes; this release occurs through a process called off-gassing. VOC is an overlooked part of air quality indoors; it’s responsible for a series of health complications. Health complications result in death almost immediately. Below is a shortlist of some of the common chemical contaminants that one can find in buildings:

  • Xylenes
  • Benzene
  • Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Formaldehyde
  • Perchloroethylene
  • Chlorocarbons

VOCs testing is used to detect these compounds in the household, workplace, and so on. Therefore, VOCs testing is essential and worthwhile, especially when it’s done correctly using the proper method and the best VOCs testing kit. Continue reading to understand how you can achieve the best VOCs testing process.

How Is VOC Testing Carried Out?

Well, VOC testing can be done in several ways, but let’s discuss the two significant ways:

  • Utilization of air-capturing equipment or sorbent tubes for laboratory analysis (usually GCMS) or canisters

Now, let’s discuss these two methods comprehensively.

●     VOC Testing Using an On-site Photo-ionizing Detector

A photo-ionizing detector utilizes a rigid ultraviolet lamp and a unique sensor to ionize gases in the atmosphere and give a detailed report on the total amount of toxic organic compounds present. The toxic organic compounds are presented as tVOCs. These meters are very useful in establishing a baseline value of the chemicals contained inside your home. Given the superb efficiency of this tool, qualified inspectors use it most times to carry out indoor air inspections.

If you find VOC testing using this tool difficult and choose to employ the help of a veteran, make sure the veteran you employ is utilizing the proper equipment for the job because VOC testing is a delicate job. For example, using a meter capable of reading only in parts per million for typical indoor air inspection activities is unlikely to give the veteran helpful information. This is because the concentration of tVOCs in most indoor settings is measured in parts per billion.

Unfortunately, the price of the best meters, which have high sensation, is a significant obstacle to entry for many veterans in this job. However, try as much as possible to look for a veteran that’s affordable and has a suitable VOC testing kit. You will find veterans like this in different online shops.

●     Testing VOCs Using Sorbent Tubes, Cannisters, or Tedlar Bags

If there’s any need to quantify a particular chemical, the most acceptable method of providing accurate and steady readings is to seize the air and transfer it to the laboratory for proper analysis. Sorbent Tubes, Cannisters, and Tedlar bags can all be found in the laboratory, where analysis occurs after air capture has been carried out.

As we mentioned earlier, the methods of VOC testing in home industries vary, and only a certified and qualified inspector can help you achieve the best VOC testing activity at cost-effective rates. You can as well get veterans in using this method of VOC testing on different online shops.

Having discussed the effective methods of VOC testing, let’s outline other VOC testing methods available in the market:

●     VOC Testing Methods TO-15, TO-17, and ASTM D5504

The EPA’s Method TO- 15 clearly defines proper VOC testing by capturing air in a specially-demarcated stainless steel vacuum canister. Air is drawn directly into the canister using a flow controller for a short or extended period. Then, the canister is transferred to the laboratory for proper analysis. Capturing air samples using TO—15 is relatively straightforward.

●     EPA VOC Testing Methods

Reduced organic sulfur compounds (ROSCs) often go with hydrocarbons with volatility properties, as emissions from gas and oil-producing industries. Unfortunately, other VOC testing methods can’t accurately detect volatile compounds containing sulfur.

In response, the ASTM D55O4 testing method allows for the capture of air samples in plastic bags that are not chemically active. Then, the samples collected in inert plastic bags are adequately analyzed by sulfur chemiluminescence detectors (SCDs).

Sulfur chemiluminescence is a VOC detection method that adequately measures sulfur concentration by adequately taking proper records of the light intensity during chemical reactions.

Like mass spectrometry, sulfur chemiluminescence detectors are commonly connected to gas chromatographs. They help to properly analyze different emission streams containing ROSCs via a double-staged process- introducing air samples containing sulfur into hydrogen and all together transferred to a furnace.

The second stage, SO from the first stage, is reacted with ozone (O3), forming SO2 and ultraviolet light. The intensity of UV light gives the amount of sulfur content.

VOCs Testing Kits

VOCs testing kits are the main determinants of a successful VOC testing operation. Therefore, all VOCs testing kits are expected to have the following:

  • Single-use indoor VOC air quality testing kit with good sampling pump, manual, prepaid shipping label in case you want to return the kit, and sample tubes
  • Should have certifications of accreditation by reputable laboratories
  • Suggestions on how the user can improve air quality
  • Email and live chat support

You can purchase VOC testing kits from stores or online shops. Some VOC testing kits available online include:

  • Air Quality Monitor, Formaldehyde Detector, Pollution Meter, Sensor, Tester; Detect & Test Indoor Pollution
  • VIVOSUN Air Quality Monitor Indoor Pollution Detector Formaldehyde Tester, TVOC and PM2.5/PM1.0/PM10
  • VIVOSUN Air Quality Monitor CO2 Tester Indoor Pollution Detector
  • VIVOSUN Air Quality Monitor CO2 Tester Indoor Pollution Detector
  • Airthings 4200 House Kit, Radon, Mold Risk & Indoor Air Quality Monitoring System, Multi-Room

Virtually all VOC testing costs are affordable.

Significant Health Effects of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Since Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs refer to a group of chemicals generated during industrial processes of oil and gas companies or off-gassing several building materials, finding out the exact health effects of a high concentration of these volatile compounds is impossible.

Check below for a detailed list of some of the general signs and symptoms that individuals that are seriously suffering from the effect of a high concentration of Volatile Organic Compounds tend to experience:

  • Prolonged headaches
  • Nausea
  • Itchy eyes
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Lethargy
  • Stuffy nose
  • Frequent respiratory complications


VOCs testing is essential as these volatile compounds are detrimental to human health. Therefore, every household should have a VOC testing kit as you never know if VOCs surround you.

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