Using passive headspace concentration as described in ASTM E 1412 and gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric (GC/MS) analysis as described in ASTM E 1618, the author has studied the persistence of solvents in floor coating materials. Both oak and pine flooring boards were tested using stain, stain with polyurethane varnish, and oil finish after a period of ten months and 24 months. The solvents from all three floor-coating substances were easily detectable after 24 months, and showed no signs of diminution when compared with the samples tested earlier. These results point out the need for the submission of comparison samples whenever wood flooring samples are submitted for fire debris analysis in suspected arson cases.
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