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How do you determine VOC content?

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The amount of volatile organic compounds in a solution or mixture can be determined through a formula that involves including all solvents in a substance and subtracting the exempt solvents that aren't legally classified as VOCs. Determining the amount of VOCs in a substance is necessary to adhere to federal and state regulations on the limits of VOCs in any product.

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Federal authorities have regulated VOCs because of their human toxicity potential and their tendency to migrate into ground water and cause environmental damage. The solvents and coatings used in inks, adhesives and other products are largely considered VOCs, although there are some solvents that are VOC-exempt. This is important for manufacturers to know if they are to comply with federal guidelines on VOC content. The content can be measured in two ways. If the substance is a liquid, the formula to determine VOC content is as follows: VOC = pounds of solvent - exempt solvent / gallon of coating - exempt solvent. If the substance is a solid, the formula is as follows: pounds of solvent - exempt solvent / pounds of solid. Manufacturers should be aware that for some products, however, more complex calculations are necessary to meet guidelines.

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