In the GSA, the following sampling system is available for the sampling of air pollutant organic substances (VOC)

the following sampling system is available:

  • SG350ex with Tenax tubes (personal and stationary sampling)

In the case of person-carried and fixed sampling, the air pollutant organic substances (VOC) in the air are sucked in with a battery-operated and volume flow-controlled pump (SG350ex) with a volume flow of 0.083 l/ min. We recommend a measurement period of 1 h.

A Tenax tube is used as adsorption medium. The two sealing caps are removed in each case immediately before sampling. The tube is sampled and resealed with the corresponding caps after sampling.


Subsequently, the analytical determination is carried out by means of GC-MS/FID (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry – the flame ionisation detector).

Limit values

Indoor guide values for VOCs that are toxicologically justified

To protect the health of the general population, the ad hoc working group on indoor guide values of the Federal Environment Agency and the Supreme State Health Authorities sets guide values for indoor air:

  • Guide value I (precautionary value); if guide value I is observed, no health impairments are to be expected even with lifelong exposure
  • Guide value II (hazard value); if the guide value II is reached or exceeded, immediate action is required

For the assessment of indoor air concentrations of air polluting organic substances, there are currently no guide values or recommendations for the majority of compounds.

Currently, guide values are available for the following investigated substances from the group of VOCs:

Substance / compounds RW I RW II
Toluene 0,3 mg/m3 3 mg/m3
Xylene 0,1 mg/m³ 0,8 mg/m³
Styrene 0,03 mg/m3 0,3 mg/m3
Bicyclic terpenes

(Lead substance á-pinene)

0,2 mg/m3 2 mg/m3
Dearomatized hydrocarbon solvents
0,2 mg/m3 2 mg/m3
Saturated acyclic aliphatic aldehydes C4 – C11 0,1 mg/m3 ** 2 mg/m3 **
Benzaldehyde 0,02 mg/m3 * 0,2 mg/m3 *
Benzyl alcohol 0,4 mg/m3 4 mg/m3
Cyclic dimethylsiloxanes D3-D6 0,4 mg/m3 ** 4 mg/m3 **
2-Furaldehyde (Furfural) 0,01 mg/m3 0,1 mg/m3
Phenol 0,02 mg/m3 0,2 mg/m3
Cresols 0,005 mg/m3 0,05 mg/m3
Ethylbenzene 0,2 mg/m3 2 mg/m3
C9- – C15- Alkylbenzenes 0,1 mg/m3 ** 1 mg/m3 **
Methyl isobutyl ketone 0,1 mg/m3 1 mg/m3
Butanonoxime 0,02 mg/m³ 0,06 mg/m³
Naphthaline 0,01 mg/m³ 0,03 mg/m³
1-Butanol 0,7 mg/m³ 2 mg/m³
2-Methoxyethanol (EGME) 0,02 mg/m³ 0,2 mg/m³
2-Ethoxyethanol (EGEE) 0,1 mg/m³ 1 mg/m³
2-Butoxyethanol (EGBE) 0,1 mg/m³ 1 mg/m³
1-Methoxy-2-Propanol (2PG1ME) 1 mg/m³ 10 mg/m³
2-(2-Butoxyethoxy)ethanol (DEGBE) 0,4 mg/m³* 1 mg/m³*
2-Phenoxyethanol (EGHE) 0,1 mg/m3 1 mg/m³

* = provisional guide value/                             ** = total value

Total values for volatile organic compounds (TVOC)

The application of TVOC values is divided into five stages. Provided that the toxicologically justified guide values are not exceeded, the following applies:

A total value of 200 µg/m3 and a guideline value of 1000 µg/m3 are proposed by the former Federal Health Office as the total value for volatile organic compounds (TVOC).

Target values here refer to technically achievable and desirable concentrations; guideline values, the exceeding of which represents an anomaly and the cause of which should be determined, are understood as a call for action.

Level 1: TVOC value < 300 µg/m3: hygienically insignificant, target value.

Level 2: TVOC value > 300 to 1000 µg/m3: hygienically still insignificant, increased ventilation requirement.

Level 3: TVOC value > 1000 to 3000 µg/m3: hygienically significant, temporary use (< 12 months) as upper limit for rooms intended for long-term occupancy.

Level 4: TVOC value > 3000 to 10,000 µg/m3: hygienically questionable, room usable for a limited period (max. 1 month) and with increased ventilation.

Level 5: TVOC value > 10,000 to 25,000 µg/m3: hygienically unacceptable. At most, the room can be used temporarily for a limited number of hours per day and with increased regular ventilation.

At values above 25.000 µg/m³ refrain from staying in the room.

Messbeispiel: Stationäre Messung