Chair in a mid-sized emissions-testing chamber at Air Quality Sciences lab.
If there is a more tedious job than watching paint dry, it might be sitting outside a stainless-steel chamber while paint is drying inside it. But analytical chemistry tools are now available that make it possible for technicians to “see” what comes off of drying paint—and many other building products—in ways that weren’t possible in the past. Only a small number of labs are dedicated to this important task, but the results of their work are already leading to healthier products and healthier buildings.There are two ways to examine potential toxicity hazards of building products. We can look at what goes into a product when it is manufactured (or what the constituent materials might contain). For example, we may examine manufactured wood products in terms of whether they are produced with non-formaldehyde MDI binder or urea-formaldehyde binder. Or, we can look at what comes off of, or is
from, a material when it is in use. The latter is what product emissions testing is all about.