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Pan-European VOC testing package >> The TVOC Issue >> Calculation of TVOC

Calculation of TVOC

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European approach

  • In prEN 16516, all VOCs are calculated with the same surrogate calibration reference, namely in toluene equivalents. Then all VOCs are summed up to obtain the TVOC.
    • Other than in the ISO 16000 standards, only distinct VOCs are included in TVOC summation. ISO 16000 TVOC definition calculates the total signal area within the specified range, including all even smallest VOC emissions.
      • In prEN 16516, the contribution of these smallest VOC traces is not wanted because these VOC traces are prone to very high analytical uncertainty.
      • The VOCs are summed up as toluene equivalents, and not with their authentic result, obtained with substance specific calibration. The reason is that different labs will identify some VOCs in a different manner and with different results. This will influence the applied calibration and quantification. Then the TVOC will show systematic differences between the different testing labs and make this term hardly comparable. But comparability of test results is essential for making use of them.
      • Applying a uniform calibration reference, the toluene equivalents, to TVOC calculation should make TVOC test results better comparable between labs and between products.
    • Californian CDPH method uses a similar calculation approach.

German approach

  • In German AgBB principles and DIBt regulation, another procedure is used that leads to the parameter TVOCSPEZ.
    • In a first run, the approach is very similar to how prEN 16516 is doing.
    • But all VOCs with a German LCI limit value are quantified with their authentic standards, not in toluene equivalents. This is the core difference from prEN 16516.
    • And all VOCs not having a German LCI limit value (including the non-identified VOCs) are quantified in toluene equivalents for the reasons explained just above.
      • This TVOC calculation delivers systematically different results than those obtained with prEN 16516.
      • Scientifically, this calculation method is closer to reality then the procedure in prEN 16516.
      • This can work on a national level. But as soon as you want to compare TVOC values from different countries, e.g. for CE marking, this could work only if all involved countries have the same list of limit values.
      • Once all concerned countries agree on a Europe-wide harmonized list of LCI values, this procedure could be established for whole Europe.
      • Within Europe, this is not yet the case. If we made the calculations with the respective national lists of limit values, then we would end up with a Belgian TVOC, a French TVOC, a German TVOC etc. That would be totally confusing.
    • That is why both prEN 16516, and also the regulators in Belgium and in France, selected to report TVOC in toluene equivalents. Also the Swedish proposal for such a regulation includes that approach.
    • More and more voluntary labels, such as EMICODE, M1, Indoor Air Comfort, European ecolabel etc., select the prEN 16516 approach for the same reason.

Eurofins VOC related services

Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with the specifications on emissions of VOC and aldehydes by independent and ISO 17025 accredited testing, and if relevant also with external surveillance (inspections, re-testing), and certification, e.g. in combination with the Eurofins operated certification programme Indoor Air Comfort - certified products.

Eurofins operates both an accredited and notified test house and an approved ÜZ certification body. VOC emissions testing for any program or regulation can be easily combined with tests for other regulations or labels such as Belgian VOC regulationFrench VOC regulationsGerman VOC regulationsEMICODE, German Blue Angel, Finnish M1 and US tests. Such combinations allow to save money compared with separate testing for each of these purposes. One example is the Eurofins Pan-European test package.

Certification and testing services for Ü markCE mark and the Eurofins certification program Indoor Air Comfort - certified products can be ordered in parallel for use on different market segments - there will be significant costs saving when compared to ordering these services separately.

Contact to surveillance and testing services

  • Surveillance and Certification body:
    (also DIBt approved surveillance and certification body)

Eurofins Consumer Product Testing GmbH
Am Neuländer Gewerbepark 4
21079 Hamburg, Germany
Phone: +49 40 492 94 6815

  • Testing lab:
    (also DIBt approved testing body, and accredited as well as notified testing lab)
Eurofins Product Testing A/S
Smedeskovvej 38, 8464 Galten, Denmark
Phone: +45 7022 4276

Contact to VOC Testing Laboratories

Please see here contact information of Eurofins VOC testing laboratories in Europe, China and Japan: