FORMALDEHYDE GAS TEST METHODS, PROCEDURES - CONTENTS: what are the different types of formaldehyde gas detection or concentration measuring tests, kits, instruments & chambers used in buildings or in test labs? Formaldehyde gas concentration testing methods used to compare indoor HCHO concentrations with HCHO gas exposure limits.
At FORMALDEHYDE GAS TEST KITS, METERS we give details about different kits, tools, or instruments such as formaldehyde gas detection instruments used for testing for formaldehyde gas and we list sources of various formaldehyde test tools, badges, home test kits etc. including the Dräger Bio-Check Formaldehyde Test Kit shown at page top.
Watch out: no gas exposure test will accurately describe the actual human exposure levels in a building if the test is not properly conducted. The risks are of both Type 1 Errors (a false positive result) and Type 2 Errors (a false negative result). That is to say that depending on how it was conducted, your test may indicate a costly, actionable problem where in fact there is not one (a false positive) or your formaldehyde (or any other) test may indicate that there is no hazard or no problem when in truth there is one (a false negative result).
With that warning stressed, formaldehyde testing in buildings is available in these categories:
Assay type formaldehyde gas test kits - typically several chemicals used following a sampling and processing procedure to detect formaldehyde
Badge type formaldehyde exposure test kits - a badge is un-sealed, exposed to building air for 24-48 hours, then sent to a qualified lab for analysis. This is probably most appropriate formaldehyde test method for home use, with the warning that among over-the-counter formaldehyde test kits you will find variations in both precision and accuracy not just cost.
Formaldehyde gas sampling pump & colorimetric gas detection tubes: accurate, precise, lower cost than electronic instruments. This approach uses a hand pump and a simple gas detector tube as a quick, low-cost means of obtaining very accurate (and precise) formaldehyde levels in a building. Example: Draeger Formaldehyde 0.2/a gas detector tube test
Formaldehyde gas detection instruments: ranging in accuracy and widely ranging in cost, including detectors, gas monitors, gas level loggers. Formaldehyde detection instruments vary significantly in price, measurement speed, accuracy, reliability, from a low of under $100. for a tool aimed at consumers to a thousand dollars or more for professional equipment such as the RKI Instruments' FP-30 formaldehyde detector. We didn't find it easy to find a price for the GrayWolf FM-801 HCHO meter.
OPINION: a web search for formaldehyde gas detectors will return a plethora of instruments. We found many companies and websites selling formaldehyde detectors, most listing the instrument specifications and few willing to list a price. If the instrument price is not readily-displayed by the vendor you can pretty-much guess it's expensive.
Forensic & environmental testing laboratories offering flooring & other material sample testing for formaldehyde outgassing, either by processing field-collected test kits or by actually processing a sample of the material, typically using a chamber test and possibly following CARB's "deconstructive" testing method.
Small-chamber testing of material samples to measure formaldehyde levels: In the U.S. and some other countries test laboratories follow ASTM Standard ASTM D6007-14, "Standard Test Method for Determining Formaldehyde Concentrations in Air from Wood Products Using a Small-Scale Chamber" at REFERENCES and excerpted just below. In California, the
California Air Resources Board (CARB) Special Analysis SOP SAS20, Rev 1. (2013) for sampling and analysis of formaldehyde emissions (also cited at REFERENCES) is based on this ASTM SOP.
Significance and Use
4.1 Upper limits for the formaldehyde emission rates have been established for wood panel building products made with urea-formaldehyde adhesives and permanently installed in homes or used as components in kitchen cabinets and similar industrial products. This test method is intended for use in conjunction with the test method referenced by HUD 24 for manufactured housing and by Minnesota Statutes for housing units and building materials. This method may also be used for monitoring products for compliance to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulation for composite wood products. This test method provides a means of testing smaller samples and reduces the time required for testing.
4.2 Formaldehyde concentration levels obtained by this small-scale method may differ from expected in full-scale indoor environments. Variations in product loading, temperature, relative humidity, and air exchange will affect formaldehyde emission rates and thus likely indoor air formaldehyde concentrations.
4.3 This test method requires the use of a chamber of 0.02 to 1 m3 in volume to evaluate the formaldehyde concentration in air using the following controlled conditions:
4.3.1 Conditioning of specimens prior to testing,
4.3.2 Exposed surface area of the specimens in the test chamber,
4.3.3 Test chamber temperature and relative humidity,
4.3.4 The Q/A ratio, and
4.3.5 Air circulation within the chamber.
CARB Comments in the California formaldehyde testing SOP that This method specifies procedures for measuring formaldehyde emissions from
composite wood products (CWPs). CWP samples are loaded into a small testing
chamber using procedures based on ASTM D6007-02: “Standard test method for
determining formaldehyde concentrations in air from wood products using a
small-scale chamber”. The chamber air is sampled using 2,4-
dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH) silica gel cartridges to capture the formaldehyde.
Cartridges are eluted with acetonitrile and the DNPH-derivative sample is
measured using high performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet
detection (HPLC-UV). The procedure is based on ASTM D5197-03: “Standard
test method for determination of formaldehyde and other carbonyl compounds in
air (active sampler methodology)”. This analytical method may achieve a detection limit of 0.6 ppb and an estimated
quantitation limit (EQL) of 3 ppb for formaldehyde.
Large-Chamber testing of material samples for formaldehyde levels: as above, but using a larger chamber, in the U.S. and some other countries, test laboratories may follow ASTM Standard ASTM E1333-14, "Standard Test Method for Determining Formaldehyde Concentrations in Air and Emission Rates from Wood Products Using a Large Chamber". Excerpt:
Significance and Use
4.1 Significance and Use:
4.1.1 Limitations on formaldehyde concentrations in air have been established for some building products permanently installed in manufactured and conventional homes. This test method provides a standard means of testing typical product sizes, such as 1.2 by 2.4 m (4 by 8 ft) sheets, at product loadings consistent with product end use.
4.2 Summary of Test Method:
4.2.1 This test method incorporates a chamber of 22 m3 (800 ft3) minimum size to evaluate formaldehyde concentrations in air and emission rates from building products over a specified duration of time. This test method employs a single set of environmental conditions but different product loading ratios to assess formaldehyde concentrations in air and emission rates from certain wood products. Conditions controlled in the procedure are as follows:
188.8.131.52 Conditioning of specimens prior to testing,
184.108.40.206 Exposed surface area of the specimens in the test chamber,
220.127.116.11 Test chamber temperature and relative humidity,
18.104.22.168 Number of air changes per hour, and
22.214.171.124 Air circulation within the chamber.
126.96.36.199 At the end of a 16 to 20-h period in the test chamber, the air is sampled and the concentration of formaldehyde in air and emission rate are determined.
NOTE 3: Care must be exercised in the extension of the results to formaldehyde concentrations in air and emission rates from products under different conditions of air change rate or loading ratio, or both.
See REFERENCES for details about these formaldehyde testing standards.
Watch out: while chamber testing is the most precise and in some regards most accurate approach to measuring the actual or possible formaldehyde off-gassing of a material sample, the measurements obtained by this method may not accurately reflect the actual formaldehyde off-gassing that will occur from the finished-product when installed n a home where the product properties are different (laminated in layers, for example and with only one side exposed to air) and where environmental conditions are both different and variable (temperature, humidity, air movement, level of fresh-air ventilation and other factors).
Smell or odor complaints as an indicator of formaldehyde hazards?
Watch out: Do not rely on "formaldehyde smell" or odor to decide if there is a formaldehyde hazard indoors. Health hazards could be present below the threshold of people's ability to smell it. The average odor threshold for formaldehyde is 0.83 ppm, with few
people being able to detect formaldehyde at levels lower than 0.5 ppm. (DeVany 2007).
Formaldehyde exposure limits & Standards: Australia, Canada, the E.U., U.S. Federal and State Level, New Zealand & Other Countries
Watch out: beware of self-styled experts who are going to just stop by and perform a test. Without a careful client interview, a taking of the building's history, an observation of its site, construction, materials, history, and other related factors, an environmental test performed alone may give disappointing and expensive results that are not useful: even if a test indicates there is a problem you may have to hire someone over again to perform much the same work in order to find the problem source and to recommend appropriate corrective measures.
See WHEN SHOULD YOU TEST for FORMALDEHYDE
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report on inadequate indoor gas testing, deaths, illnesse, worries about competent gas testing
My wife and I were exposed to carbon monoxide (and I'm assuming other combustible gases) for well over a year without knowing. We lived on a ground floor of an apartment and holes were drilled through the floor for plumbing and elec. but were never covered. They insurance company had Pinchin Engineering do a test on the place. and we were shown a basic 1 page sheet of CO and CO2 levels both in and around the house.
The readings from our detector that we finally bought a year later were at times almost 300. there readings were 20.
however the CO2 levels were 859.
Does this mean that combustion was happening because of both the readings and if so wouldn't tests be done for other combustible gases that may be present?
We lost a baby, dog died 2 years later, heart and kidney failure. wife has heart and joint issues. and I have a list as well. They settled out of court for $300Gs but I feel like we didn't receive ALL the disclosure from the air quality test. - Matt 11/30/11
Of course we are so sorry about the tragic losses you described, and I understand the tragedy of losing a child. When we suffer a tragic loss it is so difficult to endure that the look for a cause and blame is understandable, though sometimes we can be led astray in such a search.
In attempting to relate an illness or fatality to a building or environmental condition, a good place to start is with the physicians involved - ask about possible relationships between the illness or death and environmental factors.
About varying gas levels in buildings, our field experience confirms that small changes in a building (a window open or shut, or a door, or a bird building a nest in a chimney, or seasonal sooting in an oil fired appliance) and similar events can make an enormous difference in the measured result of indoor gases, airborne mold, other contaminants. For that reason, it is no surprise that a year later an individual measurement of gases indoors might find a very different level.
Only if the source of an indoor hazard can be clearly traced to a condition that was present, recogniziable by general home inspection standards and procedures, and visible at the time of the original inspection would one suspect the original inspector or test company of negligence.
Lastly, when considering a report from any building investigator, make certain that s/he is financially and ethicallyi completely independent from the person or company recommending or arranging for that service or inspection. Conflicts of interest in such matters are intolerable and even dangerous. And of course, provding more than one version of any building investigation report, say different versions to different parties, smells bad to me too.
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AIHA, American Industrial Hygiene Association, "Is Formaldehyde from Laminate Flooring a Problem in My Home?", AIHA [draft] 8 May 2015, copy on file.
DeVany, Mary C. "The Serious Public Health Issues Resulting from Formaldehyde Exposures Within FEMA Travel Trailers Issued to Hurricane Disaster Victims, and Recommended Action Items." (2007).
Kim, Sumin. "Control of formaldehyde and TVOC emission from wood-based flooring composites at various manufacturing processes by surface finishing." Journal of Hazardous Materials 176, no. 1 (2010): 14-19.
Kim, Sumin, Jin-A. Kim, Hyun-Joong Kim, and Shin Do Kim. "Determination of formaldehyde and TVOC emission factor from wood-based composites by small chamber method." Polymer Testing 25, no. 5 (2006): 605-614.
Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Mr. Cramer serves on the ASHI Home Inspection Standards. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com
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A Toxic Gas Testing Plan: A Gas Sampling Plan for Residential and Commercial buildings lists some of the toxic indoor gases for which we test, depending on the building complaint and building conditions
Gas Exposure Hazard Levels: for Toxic Gas Exposure to Ammonia, Arsine, Arsenic, Bromine, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Hydride, Ozone - allowable exposure levels and hazard levels
Formaldehyde: US EPA. UFFI (Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation) was previously considered a hazard (formaldehyde outgassing).
Subsequent research virtually closed concern regarding this material; however formaldehyde appears to remain a health concern for sensitive individuals.
Ozone Warnings - Use of Ozone as a "mold" remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous.
Sampling for gases in air such as VOC's, MVOC's, toxic chemicals, and combustion products.
Unfortunately no single test or tool can detect all possible building contaminants. We use methods and equipment which can test for common
contaminants. If the identity of a specific contaminant is known in advance we can also test for a very large number of specific contaminant
gases in buildings. We use gas sampling equipment provided by the two most reliable companies
in the world,
Draeger-Safety's detector-tubes and Drager accuro™ bellows pump, the Gastec™ cylinder pump
and detector-tube system produced by Gastec or Sensidyne, and
we also use Sensidyne's Gilian air pump. For broad screening for combustibles and a number of other
toxic gases and for leak tracing we also use Amprobe's Tif8850. All of these instruments, their applications, and sensitivities (minimum detectable limits) for specific
gases are described in our Gas Sampling Plan online document.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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