Material Off Gas


Solving poor indoor air quality mysteries can be quite a task.  There are many possible sources within our indoor environments contributing to the chemical makeup of the air we breathe.  When there has been recent construction or a new process implemented we can usually gain a better handle on what is causing the IAQ issue.  How can you be sure that you have narrowed down the culprit?


Material off gas analysis can help determine which product is creating the concerning VOC's we find in the air.  Chemical specific and full spectrum analyses are available.  Prism can analyze both solid and semi-solid materials; such as flooring, carpet, insulation, clothing, furniture, bedding/mattresses, etc. This valuable data can then be cross referenced with the VOC air analysis to determine if the chemical signatures or fingerprints are the same. 

Providing detailed analysis of the air and material source will allow the cleanup/containment work to begin.  For assistance with planning your upcoming project or to learn more about Bulk Material Off Gassing, contact us at or 989-772-5088.

Residential Sources

There are so many things in homes with the potential to emit chemicals. One of the largest contributors is building materials in new or recently renovated homes. These materials can include:

  • paints, stains, and finishes

  • flooring

  • engineered woods

  • glues, adhesives, caulks, contact cement

  • sealants

  • insulation

  • roofing products

In addition to the building materials are the contents of the home, which can include furnishings, fabrics (clothing, linens, draperies, etc.), plastics, rubber, and many other items.

Industrial Sources

In addition to the building materials that are part of the structure, industrial and manufacturing facilities have a lot of specialized equipment and materials that may contribute to poor air quality.

Commercial Sources

In addition to typical building materials, commercial spaces may also contain showrooms with inventory in retail locations, food preparation and delivery equipment and supplies for restaurants, service-specific equipment and supplies (e.g., hair styling, shoe repair), as well as typical office furniture and equipment such as computers and printers.


Material off gas, or emissions, can be difficult to determine because the chemicals emitted by a particular material or product are dependent on the temperature, humidity, air flow, age and composition of the material, exposed surfaces, etc. These factors are why most material emissions studies are performed using an enclosed chamber where temperature, humidity, and air flow can be controlled. Prism employs a micro-chamber method (based on ASTM methods D7706-11 and D5116-10 (modified)) to isolate and control the emissions under specific environmental conditions for subsequent capture by thermal desorption tube and analysis by GC-MS.  This combination of techniques allows for trace level identification of emissions for temperatures ranging from typical room temperature to almost 200 °F.