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Sampling for VOC's with Summa Can

Category Press Release
Publish Date 2/9/2015
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Canister Sampling Techniques for Indoor and Ambient Air Quality Testing Shown in New Video
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides TO-15 and other air testing services to identify airborne pollutants in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Cinnaminson, NJ, February 9th, 2015

Environmental professionals are often called upon to investigate commercial and residential properties when there are unpleasant odors or people are complaining of various health concerns.  During these situations, many may include a general volatile organic compound (VOC) scan as a part of their air sampling strategy.

VOCs are known to emanate from many building materials including some types of wood products, linoleum, paints, plastics, glues, wood preservatives and putty. Even mold can off-gas VOCs as they grow so the presence of microbial volatile organic compounds, known as MVOCs, can be indicative of microbial growth in a building.

Over the past several decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authored a series of ‘Toxic Organic Compound’ methods in ambient air. These methods are more commonly referred to as ‘TO’ methods.  Today, many environmental consultants rely on a sampling method known as TO-15 when sampling for VOCs. It uses a sophisticated canister technology that is capable of taking air samples for detecting low parts per billion of certain VOCs. The sensitivity and versatility of this sampling method makes TO-15 one of the most powerful tools that an air sampler can use for an initial evaluation.

“With the popularity of the TO-15 method, we are often asked how to take samples using the various fittings that are available today for canister sampling,” said Marge Howley, TO-15 Laboratory Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc.  “When we ship canisters to consultants in the field, we include written sampling instructions and, just last month, developed a new online video that shows how to properly use the various valves, fittings and canisters. This new video can be found on our website and has also been posted to YouTube.”

EMSL’s video about canister sampling for indoor and ambient air quality testing can be seen at:

To learn more about EMSL’s air testing services or other environmental, health and safety issues, please visit, call (800)220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, industrial hygiene, food and materials testing services and products to government agencies, industry professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

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