VOC Detection - Volatile Organic Compounds Detectors

The detection of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) is complex because they tend to evaporate very easily at room temperature. They constitute a huge family of gases and gaseous substances, many of which are considered pollutants, toxic or carcinogenic. Their volatile nature allows them to spread rapidly in the atmosphere, hence the need to detect and measure them to better protect ourselves. Several VOC detection techniques are available, from the simple passive badge to the PID lamp and chromatography.

Our portable and fixed VOC detectors
  1. The SafeAir passive sampling badge is a small and discreet personal gas exposure monitor for isocyanates (TDI, MDI), ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde, hydrazine, hydrides (AsH3, PH3), mercury, ozone, phosgene, UDMH, etc. They can detect the presence of gases even at very low concentrations.

    • Passive badge for gas exposure monitoring (AsH3, Cl2, COCl2, CH2O, Hg, MDI, N2H4, O3, PH3, TDI, UDMH)
    • Ideal for daily employee screening quickly indicates the presence of contaminants
    • No calibration or laboratory analysis required
    • Simple and economical measurement method

  2. Gas detection by colorimetric reagent tubes is a simple and precise system forming an inseparable measurement set with a manual sampling pump and a specific indicator reagent tube of the gas to be detected. The tubes allow thus instantaneous measurements of more than 500 gas concentrations.

    • Precision: the sampling pump is composed of a precision piston mechanism
    • Simple: no special skills, procedures, or technical knowledge required
    • Fast: a few minutes are enough for the measurement
    • Wide range of detected gases
    • Excellent quality/price ratio

  3. Based on an ethylene oxide (ETO) cell, the Pac 8000 OV is an accurate and economical portable organic vapor detector. It aims to detect some volatile organic compounds such as acetylene, vinyl acetate, butadiene, vinyl chloride, ethylene, ethanol, ethyl ether, formaldehyde, methanol, styrene, propylene, etc.

    • Detection of many VOCs (volatile organic compounds) based on an ethylene oxide (ETO) cell
    • Powerful 90dB audible alarm, flashing LED light, and vibrating alarm
    • IP68 ingress rating (waterproof and dustproof)
    • Data logger and event logger for analysis and reporting
    • Multiple certifications, it is ATEX, cCSAus, IECEx, CE approved
  4. The VP5 PID is a VOC portable detector (Volatile Organic Compounds) equipped with a 10.6 eV photoionization lamp. The clip-on sampling allowes it to be used in diffusion or sampling mode up to 30 meters. In addition to its gas detection capabilities, it incorporates PTI features such as a man-down alarm and an imminent danger alert button.

    • Detection of many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) based on a 10.6 eV photoionization lamp (PID lamp)
    • Built-in PTI (Protection of the lone worker) functions with "dead man alarm" and "panic button"
    • Rugged, shockproof, and water and dust-resistant (IP68)
    • Data logger and event logger for analysis and reporting
    • ATEX, IECEx, CSA & CE certifications

  5. Capable of detecting up to 6 gases simultaneously, the MX6 IBRID ATEX multi gas detector finds up to 6 gases simultaneously. Available in a diffusion version or with a remote gas sampling pump, it is particularly suitable for detecting explosive, toxic, asphyxiating gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

    • Portable multi gas detector for explosive gases, Cl2, CLO2, CO, CO2, H2, HCN, HCl, H2S, NO, NO2, NH3, O2, PH3, SO2 & VOC
    • Color LCD screen, graphic for a better distinction of the evolution curves
    • Simultaneous and continuous display of all gases
    • Optional remote gas sampling pump
  6. Especially designed to detect up to 7 gases simultaneously, the Dräger X-am 8000 multi gas detector is the most powerful and comprehensive in its category for explosive gases (hydrocarbons, solvents, alcohols), toxic or noble gases, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) detection. We can use it in diffusion mode or gas sampling pump mode.

    • Detects up to 7 gases simultaneously with a wide choice of infrared, electrochemical, and PID (photoionization lamp for VOC detection) cells
    • Color LCD, simultaneous and continuous display of all gases
    • IP67 protection rating (water and dust proof)
    • Rechargeable lithium battery - inductive charging
    • Approval: ATEX and IECEx, IEC, 2004/108/CE
  7. With 15 sensor options, including a PID for VOC (volatile organic compound) detection, the Radius BZ1 area monitor can simultaneously detect up to seven gases. Constructed of a weather-resistant, impact-resistant polycarbonate alloy, it is a rugged and flexible solution for monitoring a defined perimeter or confined space.

    • 7-gas area monitor to detect explosive gases, Cl2, ClO2, CO, CO2, H2, H2S, HCl, HCN, NH3, NO, NO2, O2, SO2 &COV (volatile organic compounds)
    • Powerful 108 dB audible alarm and visual alarm (blue and red ultra-bright lights)
    • Autonomy: 168 hours without pump (7 days) and 84 hours with pump
    • Available in diffusion version or with pump
    • Optional LENS Wireless communication
  8. The Blackline Safety G7 EXO gas detection monitor is a new generation of equipment that transmits in real-time manner positions, measurements, and alerts on a cloud control platform that relays this information to all connected operators. Detection of explosive gases, Cl2, ClO2, CO, CO2, H2, H2S, HCN, NH3, O2, O3, SO2 & VOC (volatile organic compounds).

    • Geolocalized area monitoring monitor detecting up to 5 gases simultaneously
    • Blackline Live platform for data centralization, alerts, and fleet management in real-time
    • Simultaneous detection of up to 5 gases in diffusion or pump mode
    • 4 alarm levels (TWA, STEL, low and high exceedance)
    • Battery life up to 100 days in diffusion mode

  9. The SIL2 certified OLCT100 fixed gas detector is available in ATEX versions for explosive gas or intrinsically safe (IS) for toxic gases. With nearly 150 gases listed, this 4-20 mA linear output gas detector is suitable for explosive gases detections (hydrocarbons, solvents, alcohols), toxic, asphyxiating, and refrigerant leaks (freons, HFO, CFC, HFC).

    • Fixed gas detector for explosive gases, hydrocarbons, solvents, toxic gases, freons, VOCs, CO2
    • ATEX & SIL 2 certification for catalytic and infrared versions
    • Epoxy-painted aluminium housing (316L stainless steel optional)
    • Wheatstone bridge or linear 4-20 mA outputs
    • Power supply ranges from 15.5 to 32 VDC depending on the application

  10. The KwikSense PID VOC detector, ATEX certified, is dedicated to the volatile organic compounds detection. It is an ATEX transmitter with linear 4-20 mA output, alarm relay, and a digital display that can be connected to a control system (safety PLC, gas detection system) or used as a stand-alone control point.

    • VOC detectors with PID technology (10.6 eV photo-ionization lamp) for the detection of volatile organic compounds
    • Digital display and three-colored LEDs to indicate the status of the detector 
    • Rugged, explosion-proof housing with cast aluminium alloy
    • 4-20 mA, MODBUS, and 1 or 3 relay outputs depending on the model
    • Numerous compatible accessories: calibration cap, gas manifold, climate protection, duct mounting kit
  11. The Dräger X-PID 9500 is the first ever chromatograph detector with selective VOCs measurement (Volatile Organic Compounds). It has been built on gas chromatography (GC) and photoionization lamp (PID) detection technologies basis. It provides laboratory-like test results for benzene and many other carcinogenic substances.

    • Selective VOC measurement for accurate and precise analysis of volatile organic compounds (benzene, butadiene & carcinogens)
    • Reliable performance and analysis results worthy of laboratory tests
    • Measuring unit with sampling pump up to 10 meters
    • Quick and easy to set up
    • ATEX, IECEX, RoHS, CE approval

Detection of volatile organic compounds (VOC)

Their characteristics and the effects they cause on health vary according to their nature. They can range from simple olfactory discomfort, to mutagenic disorders, through various irritations and a decline in respiratory capacity. A detection of VOCs (fixed or portable) in toxicity (rather than in explosiveness) is very often more judicious to analyze the concentrations of gas in presence.

There is, in fact, a real illogicality concerning the detection of VOCs. Indeed, even if they are capable of forming explosive combinations, the concentrations present must reach tens of thousands of particles per million (ppm). The main risk of volatile organic compounds is their toxicity at low concentrations, in the order of a few tens of ppm.

The 5 VOC groups


Alkanes (or hydrocarbons) come mainly from petroleum products and contain only carbon and hydrogen atoms, for example: butane, ethane, heptane, hexane, octane, pentane or propane. In general, alkanes are not very reactive and participate less than other VOCs in the formation of ozone. 

Alkenes and alkynes

Alkenes and alkynes are unsaturated hydrocarbons, characterized by at least one double bond (alkenes) or triple bond (alkynes) between two carbon atoms such as acetylene, ethylene, isoprene or propylene. They are mainly used in the chemical industry and are generated during petroleum refining. Alkenes are more reactive than alkanes, due to the presence of the double bond, alkynes are even more so (triple bond).

Aldehydes and ketones

Aldehydes and ketones are unsaturated organic compounds (also called carbonyl compounds) obtained by the incomplete combustion of fuels or wood (aldehydes) or chemical derivatives of an alcohol by the loss of two hydrogen atoms (ketones) as for example acetone, acrolein, formaldehyde or MEK.

Monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are hydrocarbons containing a benzene nucleus such as benzene, cymene, naphthalene, styrene, toluene or xylene.

Halogenated hydrocarbons

Halogenated hydrocarbons include chlorinated, brominated or fluorinated hydrocarbons. These VOCs are found in the air due to their use as solvents, refrigerants fluids, insecticides or aerosol propellants such as chlorobenzene, chloroform, vinyl chloride, freons R11, R12, R22, R114 or trichloroethylene. These compounds are rather stable and can remain in the atmosphere for a long time.

The sectors of activity confronted with VOCs

Due to the impressive number of substances grouped under this name and their extremely volatile nature, volatile organic compounds are present in a very large number of industrial sectors such as (non-exhaustive list): 

  • Cosmetic industry: deodorants, disinfectants, nail polish or nail hardeners 
  • Medical, paramedical & veterinary sector: alcohol, bactericides, insecticides
  • Food industry: disinfectants
  • Paper industry: oranges packaging, paper for computers 
  • Industry and use of paints and printing inks (preservative) 
  • Plastics industry: manufacture and use of glues and adhesives 
  • Textile industry: defrosting agent, bleaching of colored textiles
  • Leather and fur industry: conservation and tanning of leather, preservative 
  • Disinfection of premises: household detergents
  • Horticulture and agriculture: Bactericides, fungicides and herbicides 
  • Photography: fixatives and stabilizers 
  • Exhaust gases from diesel engines
  • Fumes from burning wood, coal and polyethylene
  • Gasoline and oil refining