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Some public locations present exceptional levels of specific VOCs. For example, indoor environments located close to transportation, such as petrol stations, bus stations, garages, or airport departure gate entrances, may on occasion be subject to high fugitive fuel emissions.

Photoionisation detection (PID) was invented by James Lovelock in the 1960’s for gas chromatographic (GC) analysis of volatile organic compounds VOC. In the 1980’s its prowess as a general VOC monitor in air was first realised. Since that time PID design has steadily improved to provide a more a resilient response in a wide range of working environments. The result is the PID sensor, costing a fraction of the cost of a GC PID unit, as well as being small, and considered robust within the hottest, coldest, wettest and most polluted ambient conditions2. This invites the possibility of PID use in indoor air quality monitoring.

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Some VOCs, such as formaldehyde and benzene, are especially hazardous to health. The importance of measuring and controlling such VOCs is recognised in keener guidelines on air quality, and a more broad concern about air quality from employers and the general public.