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New Construction and Breathing Elevated Levels of VOCs

EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides testing services and sampling supplies to measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to protect building occupants.

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

Building occupants breathing concentrated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the potential health effects of these exposures have garnered increased attention from indoor environmental advocates in recent years. Just this past March, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) published the white paper, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Criteria for New Construction. The document reviews indoor air quality (IAQ) issues as they relate to green building standards and VOC concentration limits.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes VOCs as organic chemical compounds whose composition makes it possible for them to evaporate under normal indoor atmospheric conditions of temperature and pressure. New construction and recently renovated buildings typically have strong odors due to VOCs off-gassing from new building materials, finishes and furnishings. These off-gassing materials often include treated or engineered wood products, carpets, flooring, cabinets, paints, stains, varnishes, caulking, adhesives and other substances. A few examples of VOCs include formaldehyde, toluene and acetone.

VOC levels in new or recently renovated buildings will typically decrease over time, but just how long it takes depends on a number of factors. However, VOCs can also be reintroduced into the indoor environment from the use of some common products. These include many cleaning supplies, air fresheners, pesticides and aerosol sprays.

“It’s quite common for someone walking into a newly constructed or recently renovated home or building to comment about the new smell,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “While this new smell is pleasant to some, and may invoke feelings of a clean and fresh indoor environment, quite often it actually means the person is being exposed to high levels of VOCs.”

To identify VOCs, EMSL offers a wide range testing services, all of the sampling supplies necessary and field monitoring instruments. If test results indicate the presence of high VOC concentrations, steps can then be implemented to reduce exposure risks. EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video about VOCs and new construction that can be seen at:

To learn more about EMSL’s VOC testing or other indoor air quality services and monitoring instruments, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 40 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, VOC’s, 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 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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