VOCs in Fire and Smoke contamination Investigations

 Substances below will normally appear due to a Fire & Smoke incident. Its presence can cause long-term respiratory irritation and odors.
 

 

  • ​​Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

  • Metals

  • PM2.5 & PM10

  • Aldehydes

  • Soot/Char/Ash

  • Asbestos


 

Fire & Smoke crew remediators, insurance companies, and property owners are engaging us for scope of work planning, clearance testing, and re-occupancy odor and symptom complaints.

Fire and Smoke events leave a complex particulate and chemical residues that can have a significant effect on health and often leave lingering smoky odor. These events include intrusion of smoke from wildfires, deposition of smoke residues from indoor fires (structural or affecting a specific area within the structure), and typical indoor sources such as fireplaces and wood stoves, candles, and tobacco smoke.  Traditionally particulate testing can be complicated by secondary sources, that is why understanding the effect of the VOCs from fire and smoke can provide a comprehensive evaluation of the level of remaining fire and smoke contamination.

One solution is to identify and quantify specific VOCs that are used as surrogates, or indicators, for the number of VOCs that are produced during fire and smoke event. Analysis can be performed in air, bulk, and surface samples depending on the situation. Air samples are most suited for recent fires or where VOCs inhalation is a concern. Bulk or samples can be used to determine persistence of odors or VOCs from materials that continue to off gas, which is typically the cause of long-term respiratory irritation.
 

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