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How to Calculate VOC Content

Updated February 21, 2017

The solvents in paints, lacquers, inks, adhesives and other consumer products contain potentially dangerous ingredients called volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs can combine with oxygen in the air and cause smog-creating ozone. The federal government set regulations limiting the content of VOCs in these consumer products to protect the environment. Furthermore, the government deemed certain products benign and VOC regulation exempt. There are two methods the law prescribes for determining VOC content to determine compliance: pounds per gallon and pounds per pound.

Subtract the pounds of VOC-exempt solvent from the total pounds of solvent. For example, 2.27kg. minus 0.907kg. is 1.36kg.

Subtract the gallons of VOC-exempt solvent from the total gallons of product. For example, 10 gallons minus 4 gallons is 6 gallons.

Divide the result from Step 1 by the result from Step 2 to obtain the VOC content of the product in pounds per gallon. Using our example numbers, 1.36kg. divided by 6 gallons is 0.227kg. per gallon.

Subtract the pounds of VOC-exempt solvent from the total pounds of solvent. For example, 2.27kg. minus 0.907kg. is 1.36kg.

Note the total pounds of solids in the product, for example, 2.72kg.

Divide the result from Step 1 by the total pounds from Step 2 to determine VOC content in pounds per pound. For example, 1.36kg. divided by 2.72kg. is 0.227kg. per pound.

Tip

The federal government determines which method to use, depending on the product you're manufacturing.

Things You'll Need

  • Total pounds of solvent in the product
  • Pounds of VOC-exempt solvent in the product
  • Total gallons of product
  • Gallons of VOC-exempt solvent
  • Total pounds of all solids in the product
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About the Author

Joe Friedman began writing in 2008 while in the U.S. Air Force as a KC-10 tanker pilot. He is now an equipment engineer in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Friedman holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering physics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Drexel University.