The most common components of wood smoke are Phenol, Cresol, Guaiacol, and other homologs of phenol. While Phenol is an individual chemical compound, word “Phenols” is commonly used as group name for all aromatic alcohols commonly found in wood creosote (smoke).  Phenols are formed at moderate temperature above 300°C.  LCS Laboratory Inc., can assist you in detection of individual phenols or  total phenols in air of fire damaged building. The test will be performed in our laboratory by OSHA method 32 with modification. The laboratory results should be compared with existing air quality standards. Please note that different countries, states and provinces have different safety criteria.  Some industries came with their own air quality guidelines.  Information below is provided for reference only and must be verified for accuracy and applicability. If you know different standards, please let us know and we will share them with our readers.



Industrial exposure limit for phenol vapor in air is 5 ppm or 19 mg/m³ (Ontario 2013) and for Cresol is 20 mg/m³, which also corresponds to about 5 ppm (Ontario 2013).

Residential exposure limits for various phenols are not available. EPA USA offer RfC value for phenol at the level of 0.006 mg/m³ . RfC is defined as “inhalation reference concentration: An estimate (with uncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude) of a continuous inhalation exposure of a chemical to the human population through inhalation (including sensitive subpopulations), that is likely to be without risk of deleterious noncancer effects during a lifetime”.

Odor Threshold of wood creosote is unknown. Guaiacol has the strongest odor and can be smelled at concentration as low as 0.015 mg/m³ (0.003ppm).



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 10% and 50% of Industrial Exposure Limit.  Smoke damage abatement is required.

Reading exceeds Odor Threshold.  Concentration of smoke is above the comfort level.  Tenants may complain about odor.

Reading is below Odor Threshold. It is expected that that smoke is non detectable at this concentration.

Reading is at or below RfC value. Concentration of phenols is  at safe level and will be even lower with time.

sampling pump

air sampling pumps

Your sampling kit includes 2 calibrated air sampling pumps, 2 air sampling tubes, 1 QC tube (travel blank), forms and manuals. The sampling takes 24 hours to achieve maximum sensitivity. The rate stars from $450 per kit and includes equipment rental, laboratory analysis of your samples, laboratory report, and shipping to your office.

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.