ASTM D6160 - 98(2013)

    Standard Test Method for Determination of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Waste Materials by Gas Chromatography

    Active Standard ASTM D6160 | Developed by Subcommittee: D02.04.0L

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.03


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    ASTM D6160

    Significance and Use

    5.1 This test method provides sufficient PCB data for many regulatory requirements. While the most common regulatory level is 50 ppm (dry weight corrected), lower limits are used in some locations. Since sensitivities will vary for different types of samples, one shall demonstrate a sufficient method detection limit for the matrix of interest.

    5.2 This test method differs from Test Method D4059 in that it provides for more sample clean-up options, utilizes a capillary column for better pattern recognition and interference discrimination, and includes both a qualitative screening and a quantitative results option.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method2 covers a two-tiered analytical approach to PCB screening and quantitation of liquid and solid wastes, such as oils, sludges, aqueous solutions, and other waste matrices.

    1.2 Tier I is designed to screen samples rapidly for the presence of PCBs.

    1.3 Tier II is used to determine the concentration of PCBs, typically in the range of from 2 to 50 mg/kg. PCB concentrations greater than 50 mg/kg are determined through analysis of sample dilutions.

    1.4 This is a pattern recognition approach, which does not take into account individual congeners that might occur, such as in reaction by-products. This test method describes the use of Aroclors3 1016, 1221, 1232, 1242, 1248, 1254, 1260, 1262, and 1268, as reference standards, but others could also be included. Aroclors 1016 and 1242 have similar capillary gas chromatography (GC) patterns. Interferences or weathering are especially problematic with Aroclors 1016, 1232, and 1242 and may make distinction between the three difficult.

    1.5 This test method provides sample clean up and instrumental conditions necessary for the determination of Aroclors. Gas chromatography (GC) using capillary column separation technique and electron capture detector (ECD) are described. Other detectors, such as atomic emission detector (AED) and mass spectrometry (MS), may be used if sufficient performance (for example, sensitivity) is demonstrated. Further details about the use of GC and ECD are provided in Practices E355, E697, and E1510.

    1.6 Quantitative results are reported on the dry weights of waste samples.

    1.7 Quantification limits will vary depending on the type of waste stream being analyzed.

    1.8 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.9 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulator limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D4059 Test Method for Analysis of Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Insulating Liquids by Gas Chromatography

    E203 Test Method for Water Using Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration

    E288 Specification for Laboratory Glass Volumetric Flasks

    E355 Practice for Gas Chromatography Terms and Relationships

    E697 Practice for Use of Electron-Capture Detectors in Gas Chromatography

    E969 Specification for Glass Volumetric (Transfer) Pipets

    E1510 Practice for Installing Fused Silica Open Tubular Capillary Columns in Gas Chromatographs


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.030.30 (Special wastes)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D6160

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