Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids, including a variety of chemicals which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) are similar to VOCs as they are a collection of organic compounds that differ in their chemical composition, but display similar behavior when in the atmosphere. NMVOCs also exclude methane from the group and include compounds such as benzene, ethanol, formaldehyde, acetone and more.

Non-methane volatile organic compounds are released into the atmosphere from a number of sources. According to the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory based in the United Kingdom, emissions of NMVOCs have increased significantly over the past 50 years due to the advancement of technology, such as cars, industrial practices, agricultural processes and more. The top five contributors to increased NMVOC levels are:

  1. Road transport,
  2. Solvent use,
  3. Extraction and distribution of fossil fuels,
  4. Production processes, and
  5. Nature (mostly forest areas).

The top five compounds that make up NMVOCs due to their contributors are:

  1. Butane,
  2. Ethanol,
  3. Toluene,
  4. 2-Methylbutane, and
  5. Pentane

Forming at the tropospheric level (ground level) of the atmosphere, some of the chemical compounds classified in NMVOCs, mixed with sunlight and nitrogen oxide, are hazardous to vegetation. During high emission levels, human health may be affected by irritation of the respiratory tract. Research indicates that only a few substances included in NMVOCs are responsible for almost all harmful effects.

Emissions from road transportation have been more manageable as companies and people grow to use more efficient transportation sources. However, some companies require the use of solvents, which is another contributor to NMVOCs.But, companies can manage the gases emitted from those practices by implementing a gas detection system.

ION Science is a leading gas detection and prevention company offering a variety of solutions across a vast amount of applications. Our products range from fixed, portable and personal instruments designed to monitor a variety of hazardous gases, including compounds that make up NMVOCs. To learn more information about products offered by ION Science for gas and leak detection, view our products page. For more information about solutions that are specific to compounds in NMVOCs, use in your application or if you have a question for us, contact ION Science today.