Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been shown to be precursors in the formation of ground-level ozone and to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, a significant factor in climate change. (If you still don’t know what VOCs are, you should read our article about VOCs and employee safety).
By banding together, countries around the world are working in tandem to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Targets have been set, and plans have been made, but without the ability to detect leaks of these VOCs, it’s difficult to hit the reduction quotas that the participating countries have agreed to meet.
During the cold war between the USSR and the USA, President Ronald Reagan adopted a Russian saying as part of his approach to the lowering of stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union. That saying was, “Trust but Verify.”
Sure, it’s okay for companies to trust that their manufacturing facility or production plant is handling VOCs appropriately and that there are no leaks, but how do you verify it?
NanoSent is the cost-effective VOC detection system on the market today. By being proactive with monitoring, a business can verify that its operations are not adding to global warming through negligence or undiscovered VOC leaks.
The Methane Example
The Environmental Defense Fund has produced a study indicating that the USA oil and gas industry leaks thirteen million metric tons of methane per year, the equivalent of 70,000 cars driven for an entire year. These leaks can be easily repaired as they occur, but how do the companies know when they occur?
The truth is that methane leaks can go unnoticed for months and years because the current detection system ($80,000 cameras) is expensive and difficult to scale. By leveraging a VOC detection system, the leaks can be spotted and repaired in days instead of months or years.
Methane, of course, is just one of the gasses that contribute to climate change.
Where Do VOCs that Harm Our Environment Originate?
Although it’s easy to blame climate change all on the fossil fuel industry and gasoline/diesel vehicles, the statistics for air pollution from transportation is actually on the decrease. A recent article in the New York Times indicates that the industrial manufacture and use of everyday products are where the formation of VOCs and the eventual impact on the environment is increasing.
Some of the products and corresponding manufacturing processes that are known to produce VOCs are:
- automotive refinishing products
- emulsified asphalt
- printing and inks
- manufacturing processes
- aerosol coatings
- industrial leaks
- architectural coatings
What Can be Done to Limit the Introduction of VOCs Into the Atmosphere? – A Final Word
No business owner wants their company’s processes to do damage to the environment. In fact, responsible business owners worldwide spend millions of dollars each year to comply with environmental protection legislation. We would like to take this time to thank those business owners for their commitment to the health of their employees and our environment.
But back to our question. What can be further done to limit the introduction of VOCs into the atmosphere?
While it is true that some manufacturing processes necessarily create VOCs as a by-product, companies go to great lengths to contain and properly deal with those off-gasses. The problem that is most concerning is the contamination of clean areas with VOCs or leaks of VOCs into the plant or atmosphere. These issues can be mitigated with the cost-effective VOC detection systems designed and implemented by NanoScent. When a business undertakes VOC monitoring, it can then respond quickly and appropriately to VOC leaks or the infiltration of VOCs into clean areas of their facility. Detection is the first and most critical step.