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Paint pots
Let us paint a picture of what VOCs are and what they can do.

Do you know what a VOC is?

Our products are known for monitoring many different gases, but if you look closely at the description of some of them, you will see that it mentions the acronym VOC.

For those that don’t know what VOC means, it stands for volatile organic compound, and there are thousands of different ones produced and used in our daily lives.

To help shed some light on VOCs, this post has been created to provide information on what they are and how they can affect you.

What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are any organic compounds having an initial boiling point less than or equal to 250°C, measured at a standard atmospheric pressure of 101.3kPa, and can cause damage to visual or audible senses.

These include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds.

Examples of common VOCs are gasoline fumes, paint solvents, air fresheners, construction chemicals such as carpet adhesives, dry cleaning and the gaseous portion of cigarette smoke.

Along with particulates, VOCs are believed to be the major contributors to poor indoor (and outdoor) air quality, and most are thought to be carcinogenic in high concentrations and through long-term exposure.

How might I be exposed to volatile organic compounds?

VOCs are common air pollutants that can be found in the atmosphere both indoors and outdoors.

You can be exposed to VOCs from using cleaning, painting, or hobby supplies that contain them. You can also be exposed if you dry clean your clothes or use glues, permanent markers, copiers, printers or correction fluids.

Compressed air is applied in the process of food production, and must comply with the ‘Contact’ purity level as specified in BCAS Guideline 102, published by the British Compressed Air Society.

This ensures that airborne VOCs are kept out of the compressed air and therefore the food production process to minimise the potential effects on appearance, taste, shelf-life or safety.

If contaminants aren’t detected early in the process, particularly in large volume food production areas, this can lead to costly and inconvenient disposal of large batches of food products.

How can volatile compounds affect my health?

The health effects of VOCs can vary greatly, depending on the nature of the VOC, the level of exposure, and the length of exposure.

Long-term exposure to VOCs can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.

Short-term exposure to VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and allergic skin reactions.

Do I need to monitor volatile organic compounds?

Analox recommend volatile organic compound monitoring for indoor air quality, electronics manufacturing, woodworking, carbon filter verification, printing, ozone systems, dry cleaners, hazmat operations, compressed breathing and gluing.

Our range of fixed, portable and OEM monitors can help you keep VOC levels safe.

The ACG+ is a fixed or portable compressor monitor which continually/periodically monitors your breathing/compressed air for oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), dew point (H2O) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) and also has a separate port to check for oil mist.

ACG compressed air monitor

ACG compressed air monitor

It is much more effective than colorimetric tube testing and lab testing of air, which is time consuming, costly and only a spot check. The ACG+ also assists with compliance to standards such as BS8478 and EN12021.

MEC sensor range

MEC sensor

If you do not require a complete monitoring solution and prefer to integrate sensors into your own system, we offer the MEC range. These are digital OEM monitors which cover a large selection of gases including (but not limited to), CO, O2, VOC, helium (He), ammonia (NH3), bromine (Br2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), hydrogen (H2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), Fluorine (F2), chlorine dioxide (ClO2), hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and Chlorine (Cl2).

To view all of our monitoring equipment for volatile organic compounds visit our products page.

Author: Araminta Hartley, Content Writer

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Founded in 1981, Analox Sensor Technology provides niche and custom gas detection solutions to industries including beverage and fast food, commercial diving and laboratories. Analox has over 325 years of collective, specialist electronics and software engineering expertise, as well as a worldwide distributor network. Contact us to see how we can provide expert gas monitoring solutions and help you achieve your goals.

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