Air Monitoring for Toxic Exposures by Henry J. McDermott

By Henry J. McDermott

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This publication deals ready-to-use details for measuring a large choice of airborne dangerous fabrics together with chemical substances, radon, and bioaerosols. It presents the latest procedures for air sampling, gathering organic and bulk samples, comparing dermal exposures, and selecting the benefits and barriers of a given air tracking method.

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At the laboratory, each section is analyzed separately; and if significant breakthrough has occurred, the results will be questionable and so the sampling should be repeated. A special screening adsorption tube is available that has several different adsorbent layers in a single tube. These are useful for initial sampling for unknown contaminants and in some indoor air quality investigations. Vendors can also provide custom-packed adsorption tubes to meet special sampling needs. Absorption devices such as a small vial with a bubbler fitting.

In the laboratory, the actual field sample tubes and one or more “field blank” tubes are handled the same way: The main and backup sections of charcoal are removed from the tube and placed in separate vials. A small quantity of solvent is added to each vial and the contents agitated to desorb the captured contaminant. A portion of the solvent/contaminant sample is injected into the GC, and the analytical cycle is initiated. The GC runs through the temperature program, and the peak area on the chromatogram for each contaminant is analyzed by computer to yield the amount of that contaminant in the sample.

A substance is considered a gas if at standard conditions of temperature and pressure (25°C, 1 atm) its normal physical state is gaseous. Examples are hydrogen, helium, oxygen, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, carbon monoxide, argon, and nitrogen oxides. 1 This equilibrium results from the vapor pressure of the substance, which if high enough, causes it to volatilize (evaporate) from a liquid or sublime (evaporate directly from a solid) into the atmosphere. Vapors become airborne as the result of the evaporation of substances that are liquids at room temperature, such as styrene or acetone.

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