Our Lab Services Explained

Spectrums UKAS accredited odour laboratory provides a comprehensive range of odour testing and analytical services to its clients.

Some of the Key odour parameters measured

We encounter odours through many situations in everyday life. However, some odours can become objectionable nuisances which may also pose a health risk to the community at large.

One way to assess an odours potential to create a nuisance is to perform Odour threshold detection concentration measurements in accordance with BS EN 13725. This measurement is a quantifiable way of determining how strong a specific odour and is commonly used as part of odour impact assessments to predict if a new industrial development will comply with environmental or planning regulations. Odour concentration measurements are also used to measure odour emissions from facilities against permitted emission limit values.

Another common approach in evaluating an odours potential to create a nuisance is to carry out a hedonic tone assessment. Hedonic tone assessments use a panel of acuity certified human assessors to evaluate the relative unpleasantness / pleasantness of an odorant using a standardised scale. Spectrum use the German VDI standard which presents the odorant at various concentrations above it’s detection threshold to allow panellists to select their responses based on how unpleasant the sample is. Hedonic tone assessments provide a valuable insight into whether a specific odorant may elicit complaints from the public.

Other key analytical services include odour speciation analysis which utilises the ability of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify and quantify specific trace compounds which are responsible for creating malodours. Certain trace compounds can create odour nuisances at extremely low concentrations ( part per billion) and so can be hard to detect using other techniques. Odour speciation screens provide a sensitive and accurate technique to identify problem odours.

One other important analytical assessment tool that we provide is odour acuity assessments. This service allows professional who are involved in carrying out or reviewing odour investigations, to have their own sense of smell certified. The process is based on the panellist selection criteria for BS EN 13725 using the reference odorant N-Butanol.

Attendees undergo a laboratory assessment and receive a certificate detailing their odour sensitivity to N-Btanol.

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