SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1991

The Automated Determination of Volatile Organic Contaminants in Ambient Air and/or Soil Gas by Gas Chromatography with Selective Detectors


Volatile Organic Contaminants (VOCs) are major air pollutants in our environment. Whole air sampling has become the primary method for sampling air with EPA method TO-14. With this technique, an air sample is drawn through a cryogenically cooled trap to freeze out and concentrate VOC contaminants. The trap is then quickly heated and the VOCs are transferred to a cryogenically cooled column. Several variations and improvements have been studied: 1) automation for multiple samples, 2) use of a variable temperature absorption trap to eliminate cryogenics and a water removal device, and 3) elimination of the requirement for a cryogenically cooled oven. Two automated analytical systems are discussed: a fixed and a variable volume system. Precision, method detection limits, system linearity, and carryover are reported. Finally, ambient, dry-cleaner, and indoor air samples are analyzed using the techniques described.

Author Information

Kirshen, N
Almasi, E
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 39–55
DOI: 10.1520/STP25467S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5159-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1294-0