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New PTR-MS “indoor air quality” application note

VOC emissions in our homes, offices or cars – an exemplary study of commercial air fresheners

Volatile Organic Compouns (VOCs) are chemicals that vaporize at room temperature and many of which are known to be harmful to our health or have a bad smell. Nearly every commercial product we use emits VOCs, some of them on purpose (e.g. air fresheners) but a lot of them unintentionally (e.g. furniture like carpets or paints).

Learn more about indoor air quality and VOCs at the US EPA’s website.

Regulations exist to keep the level of VOC emissions low as many people react irritated to some of the substances. The so called “Sick Building Syndrome” is a situation where according to the US EPA “…Building occupants complain of symptoms associated with acute discomfort…”.  “Chemical contaminants from indoor sources” is cited as one of the “contributing factors to sick building syndrom”.

Learn more about the Sick Building Syndrome at the US EPA’s website (sources from above).

IONICON PTR-MS is often used for real-time quantification of trace VOCs in our outdoor environment, but also indoors. PTR-MS allows for straightforward, immediate analysis of air without any complicate sample preparation providing real-time results as mass spectra. Therefore many customers use PTR-MS for applications including:

  • Monitoring of cleanrooms in the semiconductor industry
  • Detection of VOCs in buildings
  • Industrial workplace safety monitoring solutions
  • Sensory evaluation of odors/malodors in car or aircraft cabins

As an application showcase we did a small intercomparison of commercially available air fresheners in our lab. We applied the products like many of us do in their homes or offices and quantified the spread of chemicals in the room air. We selected a few substances and compared two air fresheners.

Download the application showcase: Indoor air quality – study on VOCs emitted by air fresheners and have a look at the dedicated page on our website for more information.