Volatile organic compounds have been regulated for more than four decades by international treaties such as the Gothenburg protocol and various EC Directives. Emissions have reduced significantly since a peak in around 1990, when road transport emissions (e.g. from evaporation losses and vehicle tailpipes) were by far the largest source. Over the last decade, emissions in Europe and the US have plateaued, and are now predominately from solvents used in industry and the home. This change, away from gasoline towards solvents, has altered the mixture of VOCs that are present in air, thereby creating new measurement challenges. International targets set for VOC emissions in 2030 will require further reductions in most high-income countries, which could include increased focus on reducing the solvent content of everyday products. The next few years will bring greater regulatory focus on VOC emissions from sectors that have previously seen only light touch controls on activities. In turn, this will likely increase demand for suitable quantitative analytical methods.
Professor Ally Lewis was appointed as professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of York in 2006, working within the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories. He is currently a Science Director at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and Chair of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Air Quality Expert Group in the United Kingdom. Professor Lewis has more than 230 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. He has held numerous awards and prestigious Principal Investigator positions. He is a member of a number of expert advisory groups, including for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program.