Volatile Organic Compounds - VOC

UNICERT is the leading inspection body in the area of Air Quality test for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) tests and its objectives are to reduce environmental emission/pollution and enhance environmental performance for the society.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air, a trait known as volatility. For example, formaldehyde, which evaporates from paint and releases from materials like resin, has a boiling point of only-19°C (-2°F).

VOCs are numerous, varied, and ubiquitous.

They include both human-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds. Most scents or odors are of VOCs. VOCs play an important role in communication between plants and messages from plants to animals. Some VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the environment. Anthropogenic VOCs are regulated by law, especially indoors, where concentrations are the highest. Harmful VOCs typically are not acutely toxic, but have compounding long-term health effects. Because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop, research into VOCs and their effects is difficult


Sources of VOC:

  1. Paints and coatings
  2. Chlorofluorocarbons and chlorocarbons
  3. Fossil fuels
  4. Benzene
  5. Methylene chloride
  6. Perchloroethylene
  7. MTBE
  8. Formaldehyde


What are the effects of VOC on human health?

Health effects include:

    1. Eye, nose and throat irritation
    2. Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
    3. Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
    4. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.


What are the environmental effects of VOC?

Unfortunately, most VOCs produce ozone, which inhabits the troposphere. Troposphere or ground level ozone is a harmful, photochemical oxidant that significantly contributes to the formation of smog. Troposphere ozone is regularly measured as an indicator of smog levels in the atmosphere. Scientific evidence also indicates that ground level ozone can have a detrimental impact on the environment. 

This impact can lead to reductions in agricultural crop and commercial forest yields, reduced growth and survivability of tree seedlings, and increased plant susceptibility to disease, pests, and other environmental stresses (e.g. harsh weather). Other problems resulting from excessive ozone levels can include damage to the ecosystem including the retardation of plant growth and crop yields.

Interested Parties including Regulatory Authorities:

  1. Persons affected by VOC
  2. Industries, Laboratories using/ Generating VOC
  3. Warehouses Containing Chemicals of VOC
  4. Motor Vehicles for personal and commercial uses
  5. Private / Govt. Projects to control VOC
  6. Handling and transportation of chemical containing VOC
  7. Local Environmental Department/ Authorities
  8. Local Government Authorities like Municipalities, City Corporation etc.
  9. Local Law Enforcing Agencies like Police, Magistrate and Regulatory Authorities etc.

Benefits of Monitoring:

By monitoring long-term contamination trends, every country establishes baseline contamination levels, making it possible for early identification of contamination events. Daily events and long term trends are captured and steps taken to reduce environmental emission/ pollution and enhance environmental performance of the society.