polycondenced aromaticPolycyclic Aromatic Compounds (PAC) is a very generic term used for a broad group of chemicals that contain 2 or more aromatic rings. Those are produced at temperature above 900°C. Many individual chemicals commonly found among PAC group are carcinogenic. Light, the most volatile members of PAC group are the least toxic and can be easily detected by their naphthalene-like (moth ball) smell. The heavy fraction of PAC contains nonvolatile, odorless, and extremely carcinogenic Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH): pyrene, fluorene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene, and many other chemicals. LCS Laboratory Inc., can assist you in detection of total PAC in air of fire damaged building.

Benzo(c)phenanthreneLCS Laboratory developed a screening test for for nonvolatile components of PAC group.  Sampling procedure is based on OSHA method #58 for coal tar pitch volatiles. Samples are collected on glass fibre filter, and analysed by LCS Laboratory using ultra sensitive fluorescent analysis. Overall sensitivity for total PAC on 200 L sample is 0.0005 mg/m³ or better.

Several industrial products are known to contain PAC: Asphalt fume and Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles.  Safety standard for Asphalt Fume is set at 0.500 mg/m³ and Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles are regulated at 0.200 mg/m³ (Ontario 2013). To the best of our knowledge, there is no guidelines for PAC as a group of chemicals in Residential Air.

Gilian Pump with cassette

Gilian Pump with cassette

Interferences. Wood dust and some industrial grade “air fresheners” may give false positive reading.

Sampling strategy. The screening test can be used as a fast and affordable procedure for evaluation of relative air quality in different parts of damaged building vs clean building of the same type. First, a reference sample is collected in clean area. This sample represents “acceptable” PAC level for the building of this type. Other samples are collected in the part of the building damaged by smoke and fire along the line from clean to  the most damaged part.

Possible way of interpretation of laboratory results. 

  • Results exceed the Industrial Exposure Limit. The building must be decontaminated  by professional crew.  Personal Protection Equipment must be used.
  • Reading is between 1% and 50% of Industrial Exposure Limit.  Smoke damage abatement is required.
  • PAC reading in damaged area is significantly higher than in clean area.  PAC are present. Loosed dust in the area must be removed. Additional cleaning is required.
  • Results from contaminated area are at or below the reference sample. There is no indication of smoke related contamination with PAC.

LCS Lab will be happy to assist you with your project. To request a formal quote, please email us the following information:

  1. Your Name, Last Name
  2. Shipping Address
  3. Contact Phone
  4. Number of samples you want to collect. The number of samples is typically equal to number of rooms you want to test. You use one sampler per room, so if you want to test a basement, kitchen, and garage, you need to order 3 separate sampling kits.
  5. What is the date of the sampling? We will deliver equipment by that day,
  6. How fast do you need the results back (same day, 1-day, 2-days….). The standard turnaround time is 7 business days. If you want results faster, we can accommodate your request but you should expect the rush service surcharge

Thank you for your interest and stay safe.