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VOCs Testing Services

Category Press Release
Publish Date 7/6/2023
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Volatile Organic Compound Exposure Risks in the Built Environment
Introduction EMSL Analytical offers indoor air quality testing services, sampling supplies, test kits and air monitoring instruments to identify a wide range of chemical and microbial pollutants.

Cinnaminson, New Jersey, July 6, 2023

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. They include a large group of chemicals that can be found in a number of products and materials used to build, furnish, clean, and maintain homes and buildings. VOCs can also be found in a number of personal care and consumer goods.

Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors, and they are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands according to the EPA. These products can be in the form of liquids or solids.

Possible health effects from exposure to VOCs shared by EPA include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • Damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans 


EPA also lists key signs or symptoms associated with possible exposure to VOCs, they include:

  • conjunctival irritation
  • nose and throat discomfort
  • headache
  • allergic skin reaction
  • dyspnea
  • declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • nausea
  • emesis
  • epistaxis
  • fatigue
  • dizziness 


“Workers in a number of occupations could also be at risk of exposure to highly elevated levels of VOCs,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “As with other indoor pollutants, the extent and nature of any health effect depends on many factors, including which VOC caused the exposure, the level of exposure, length of time exposed and the individual. Fortunately, there are ways to test the indoor environment for the presence of VOCs and other airborne pollutants. If found at elevated concentrations, steps can then be taken to mitigate or eliminate exposure.”

Providing laboratory services and sampling supplies to test for VOCs and many other indoor pollutants are the scientists at EMSL Analytical. They also recently sponsored an educational video about VOCs and things building occupants should know which can be seen at: https://youtu.be/yOz1CD_3DSE 

To learn more about volatile organic compounds and indoor air quality testing resources, please visit www.EMSL.com, email info@EMSL.com or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOCs, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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