Volatile organic compounds often referred to as VOCs, are substances as potentially harmful as their name is complicated. VOCs are emitted into the air as a gas by certain kinds of solids and liquids and can cause health problems ranging from annoying to life-threatening. On a more technical level, the federal Environmental Protection Agency defines VOCs as "compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility." While volatile organic compounds occur naturally in most environments, they tend to be far more common in indoor environments compared to outdoors. This is primarily due to the presence of more man-made materials with comparably poor ventilation and airflow. They can include any number of chemicals used for cleaning, paints and lacquers, and a large number of common devices like furnishings and electronics as well.
We mentioned the large number of man-made items that can release VOCs - these are the main ways they're introduced into our environment. The primary culprits are chemicals that most people can tell release fumes that aren't good to breathe - things like paint, varnishes, cleaning supplies, glue, adhesives, markers, pesticides, caulk, sealants, and more. But volatile organic compounds are also emitted by sources like tobacco smoke, dry-cleaned clothes, gas and diesel fumes, and even the common office copier or printer. All of these sources are constantly pumping potentially harmful chemicals into the air throughout their entire existence.
There's good news for those concerned about the toll these volatile organic compounds could be taking on their health. It comes in the form of a modern, convenient VOC sensor. A VOC gas sensor is a device programmed to detect particular levels or concentrations of VOCs in an environment. They're generally part of larger, often automated air processing and ventilation systems.
There are two primary types of VOC sensors - photoionization and electrochemical. In a photoionization sensor, the device uses ultraviolet light to ionize particles in the air. The sensor then measures the level and flow of electrons within the substances, looking for potentially toxic gasses. On the other hand, electrochemical sensors use electrodes and an electrolyte that react to particular gasses, in this case, VOCs. Measurements are made in PPM, or "parts per million," a unit that can identify even very small amounts of harmful compounds that may otherwise be undetectable in the air. Both styles will constantly sample and monitor the air in a designated space, alerting the proper people or taking specific action to improve air quality if readings are too high.
While a bit of skepticism is often warranted with technology, VOC sensors can be highly reliable and accurate. There are many different models and brands on the market, and it's vital to purchase a high-quality one such as those offered by Veris. Those who opt for photoionization detectors will have the most sensitive and accurate results, though they'll often pay a bit more for the improved performance. Electrochemical and other types of VOC sensor technology typically offer lower levels of sensing for more affordable prices.
There are so many benefits to using a VOC air quality sensor for both the health and comfort of everyone involved. VOC sensor technology can improve ventilation in schools, offices, public buildings, and any other type of indoor space.
High VOC levels can lead to uncomfortable issues like itchy eyes and respiratory system problems, along with headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. Over time, elevated levels of volatile organic compounds can do serious and permanent damage to the lungs, liver, and central nervous system. They're nothing to fool around with, and those who take their safety and that of those around them seriously know VOC sensors are a vital part of monitoring and resolving problems. VOC tech can also keep businesses and other spaces in compliance with air ventilation regulations if applicable.
There are numerous harmful compounds that just about every VOC sensor will detect. These include acetone, ethanol, formaldehyde, benzene, ethylene, styrene, toluene, isobutene, isopropanol, and more. Varying safe levels can be as low as 0.1 parts per million for extended exposure to 1000 or more PPM for comparably less dangerous gasses. Those concerned about a particular VOC as a result of specific environmental situations should double-check to ensure their would-be sensor can detect it at the appropriate levels.
Those who know ventilation and sensors know - Veris is a leading manufacturer of VOC sensors and can help you improve your indoor air quality unlike any other. Veris VOC sensors are known for their easy-to-use operation, high-quality technology, and numerous models for various uses. Plus, Veris offers a variety of other tools that work hand-in-hand with your VOC sensor to monitor and improve indoor air quality. Shop Now to see how Veris can make your air even more healthful and refreshing, no matter the type of space.