The Impact of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Polymeric Materials

The Impact of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Polymeric Materials

3.1 min readPublished On: November 6th, 2023By
3.1 min readPublished On: November 6th, 2023By
volatile organic compounds

In the world of consumer products, polymeric materials are frequently used in items such as textiles and food storage containers. These materials are known to emit chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during use.

Understanding Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are named for their high vapour pressure, which causes them to evaporate and release molecules into the air. This characteristic of VOCs can have far-reaching consequences when these compounds are released from polymeric materials.

The Dynamic Nature of VOC Emissions

Researchers have conducted numerous studies on the emissions of VOCs from polymeric materials. These have focused particularly on the emissions of plasticisers and flame retardants that are commonly added to enhance polymeric materials. A common example is the release of phthalates, such as bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), often incorporated into poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) to function as a plasticiser.

Emission levels of VOCs can vary throughout the expected lifetime of a polymeric material due to factors like thermal stress and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, even under ambient conditions. The process of polymer degradation can result in the production of various chemicals, including monomer and oligomer fragments. These byproducts tend to have lower molecular weights and boiling points than the original polymeric material, leading to increased VOC emission rates. An example of this is the release of styrene monomers from polystyrene.

The Role of BioCote® in Addressing VOC Emissions

The interaction between additives and polymeric molecules can further contribute to the rate of VOC emissions. Additives may undergo chemical reactions with compounds in the environment, such as hydroxyl (OH) radicals, giving rise to lower molecular weight, more volatile compounds.

BioCote® is aware of the VOC emissions associated with polymeric materials and their potential impact on antimicrobial testing. These emissions can obscure issues within formulations, potentially masking the deactivation of antimicrobial additives. Because of this, BioCote® recommends the “aging” of polymeric materials a crucial step in antimicrobial testing. This process can reveal formulation problems, ensuring the effectiveness of antimicrobial additives over an extended period.


While VOC emissions are an inherent aspect of polymer processing, it is essential not to overlook their importance. In particular, when incorporating antimicrobial technology, consistent and efficient performance must be ensured. Addressing VOC Emissions and their potential impact on testing processes is crucial in maintaining the reliability of antimicrobial products.

Elevate Your Product’s Performance with BioCote®

At BioCote® we specialise in optimising plastic products with antimicrobial solutions. Our consultative approach helps businesses identify the most effective method of antimicrobial integration for their products. We offer a diverse range of antimicrobial additives for engineering plastics and commodity polymers, including custom polymer-specific masterbatches, formulated to deliver top-notch antimicrobial performance. These additives are available in various formulations to seamlessly suit your moulding or extrusion processes.

Our commitment involves testing the efficacy of our antimicrobial technology through accredited third-party laboratories. We maintain a minimum pass rate of 95% across various stringent tests, including ISO 22196 for non-porous materials, ASTM G21-15 for antifungal properties, and KIRBY-BAUER to determine the sensitivity or resistance of bacteria to diverse antimicrobial compounds.

Our partnership program is designed to empower businesses by providing the necessary tools and expertise to leverage the full potential of BioCote®’s innovative antimicrobial technology. Whether you seek guidance in navigating regulatory landscapes or require marketing support for your antimicrobial products, our team stands ready to support your journey towards success.

If you are interested in the antimicrobial range of Korpinen, please visit their site here. To find out how to protect your own products with proven BioCote® antimicrobial technology, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team on +44 (0) 2477 712489. Alternatively, you can contact us here.

Evolving EU Biocidal Products Regulation: Updates on Silver Zinc Zeolite

At the recent 50th Biocidal Products Committee (BPC-50) meeting held in February 2024, Silver Zinc Zeolite received positive support for approval as an active substance under multiple Product-types (PTs), including disinfectants (PT2), film preservatives (PT7), and fibre, leather, rubber, and polymerised materials preservatives (PT9. This endorsement signifies a crucial step towards regulatory acceptance.