Term “Volatile Organic Compounds” is used to describe broad range of carbon based individual solvents and their mixtures. Health Canada (2016) issued guidelines for only 3 individual solvents (VOC): Benzene, Toluene and Naphthalene (mothball), while 100’s of other solvents are used in any residential home and affect your health. It is impossible to define toxicological properties and therefore “safe limit” for total VOC. The major problem is that all buildings are different with different spectrum of chemicals.
In assumption that the building is a typical one without history of chemical contamination, building science came with a term: “comfort level of VOC”. VOC in residential and office buildings come mostly from 4 major sources:
- Offgassing of new construction materials: drywalls, carpets, paint, thinners, laminate, furniture and other
- Household chemicals: cleaning supplies, “air fresheners”, perfume, inks, detergents and other
- Food and beverages
- Microbiological activity: mold growth
Comfort Level for residential VOC is typically defined at 0.2-0.5 mg/m³. The meaning of the Comfort Level is a concentration of common VOC which causes no irritation or discomfort for tenants. The level is not enforced by any agencies and is based purely on building science research:
<0.2 mg/m³ – no irritation or discomfort; (reference: Mølhave L. 1991. Volatile organic compounds, indoor air quality and health. Indoor Air 1(4):357–-376.)
0.2-0.3 mg/m³ – typical of hospital and laboratory buildings. (reference: McLeod V. 2011. Breathing easy: keeping tabs on indoor air quality. ALN Magazine May/June 2011. http://www.alnmag.com/print/5786)
<0.5 mg/m³ – The LEED recommended level is <500 μg/m3. (reference: McLeod V. 2011. Breathing easy: keeping tabs on indoor air quality. ALN Magazine May/June 2011. http://www.alnmag.com/print/5786; LEED 2010. Building Design & Construction. LEED Rating System Draft, November 2010.)
Your VOC sampling kit includes several VOC dosimeters, and a sampling instruction. You will need to open the dosimeters and place them in different rooms for 48 hours. Once the sampling is complete, please return dosimeters to our lab for analysis. Typical cost of the project is from $150 to $250, which depends on number of room you want to test and desirable turnaround time.
To order your kit, please email us with the following information:
- Your Name, Last Name,
- Shipping Address,
- Contact Phone,
- Number of samples you want to collect. The number of samples is typically equal to number of rooms you want to test. You use a dosimeter only once, so if you want to test basement and kitchen, you need to order 2 separate samples.
- If you want to use a Travel Blank? Travel blank is an additional dosimeter that is used as a Quality Control reference to demonstrate that the measured VOC level is not an artifact due to sampler contamination during sampling storage or shipment. The use of the travel blank is especially important if you do this test for legal purposes.
- What is the date of the sampling? We will deliver equipment by that day,
- 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.
We will reply back to you with an electronic invoice which you need to pay online with a credit card to initiate your order.
Thank you for your interest and stay safe.