European Commission > JRC > IHCP > Our Activities > Public Health > Indoor air quality > ECA (European Collaborative Action on Urban Air, Indoor Environment and Human Exposure) > ECA Report no 21 - European Interlaboratory Comparison on VOCs emitted from building materials and products
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ECA Report no 21 - European Interlaboratory Comparison on VOCs emitted from building materials and products

Luxembourg: OPOCE, 1999 ISBN 92-828-6480-4 © European Communities, 1999

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Author M. De Bortoli, S. Kephalopoulos, S. Kirchner, H. Schauenburg, H. Vissers

Eighteen laboratories from 10 European countries participated in a comparison organized in the frame of the project VOCEM, a 2.5 year research collaboration among 4 research institutes and 4 industrial companies. The VOCEM project ("Further development and validation test chamber method for measuring VOC emissions from building materials and products") has been partially funded by the European Commission (Contract no. SMT4-VT95-2039).

The scope of the project was to improve the procedure used to measure VOC emitted from building materials and products in small test chambers. The inter-laboratory comparison included the GC-MS determination of 5 target compounds from carpet , 8 from PVC cushion vinyl and 2 from paint; for the first time, chamber recovery (sinks), homogeneity of solid materials and possible contamination during transport were tested.

The results show that the intra-laboratory variance (random errors) is much smaller than the inter-laboratory variance (systematic errors). Causes of the largest inter-laboratory discrepancies were:

(a) analytical errors;

(b) losses of the heaviest compounds due to sorption on the chamber walls;

(c) non homogeneity of the materials.

The output of this work concerns both the objective of labelling materials with regard to their VOC emissions and the pre-standard drafted by CEN for this type of determination.

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