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Assessing the Uncertainty Associated with Product Emission Measurements



Cynthia H. Reed, Steven J. Nabinger, Andrew K. Persily


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by building materials and products have been shown to significantly impact human health and comfort. As a result, the market for low emitting building materials and products is growing rapidly. However, existing product labeling programs for ranking and certifying low emitting building products and materials are not yet supported by reliable VOC emission rate measurements. Measuring VOC emissions from building materials and products is a complex multi-step process with numerous sources for measurement uncertainty. These sources include 1) selection, packaging, transport and storage of material/product samples; 2) preparation and conditioning of sample specimens; 3) operation of emission test chambers; 4) gas-phase sampling and storage; and 5) gas sample transfer and analysis. This paper describes methods to evaluate the performance of the emissions testing process and to quantify the associated measurement uncertainty. Improved understanding of emission measurement uncertainty through method validation and performance checks has the potential to increase consensus and confidence in emissions testing as well as to “level the playing field” for product testing laboratories and manufacturers.
Conference Dates
August 17-22, 2008
Conference Location
Copenhagen, FI
Conference Title
Indoor Air 2008


Material emissions, volatile organic compounds, chamber tests, quality control, uncertainty


Reed, C. , Nabinger, S. and Persily, A. (2008), Assessing the Uncertainty Associated with Product Emission Measurements, Indoor Air 2008, Copenhagen, FI, [online], (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created August 17, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017