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Posts Tagged ‘GC/MS’

New and Revised Clean Water Act Methods Proposed

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

New and Revised Clean Water Act Methods ProposedIn August 2010 the EPA issued a notice proposing new and revised analytical methods to be used under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The proposed rule, entitled “Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants Under the Clean Water Act; Analysis and Sampling Procedures”, will affect numerous EPA Methods, ASTM Methods, Standard Methods, and alternative test methods.

EPA methods:

Read more about the proposed CWA Methods…

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) in Shellfish

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) in Shellfish


Columbia Analytical Services, Inc. has extensive experience testing for low levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) in shellfish. Sensitive and selective techniques were developed over ten years ago and have been refined and improved on a continuing basis. In addition to the analysis for the common parent compounds, levels of the associated alkylated homologs can also be determined.

This analysis is typically performed using Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) operated in the Selective Ion Monitoring (SIM) mode. Key to the analytical procedure is proper sample preparation, which begins with shucking, compositing (as appropriate to the project plan), and homogenization via mechanical mixing. The preliminary preparation must be performed under clean laboratory conditions to prevent common PAH contamination. Decontamination of sample preparation equipment is performed and monitored closely to assure clean conditions. The sample homogenate is a homogenous slurry when prepared correctly. The homogenization techniques performed by Columbia Analytical have been inspected and approved by various organizations (e.g. US EPA, other federal government and state regulatory agencies, private industries, consultants, etc.) The data results for these projects were subjected to thorough government, public and private scrutiny.

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Analytical Testing for 1,4-Dioxane

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

1,4 Dioxane Testing1,4-Dioxane (dioxane) is a chemical of concern for its potential health effects as a carcinogen and irritant. It is commonly found in personal care products such as detergents, shampoos, body lotions, and cosmetics, and is widely used as an industrial solvent and stabilizer in manufacturing processes (e.g., electronics, metal finishing, fabric cleaning, pharmaceuticals, herbicides, pesticides, antifreeze, paper, etc.). Currently, there are no established limits on the amount of dioxane in personal care products nor is it specifically regulated in manufacturing wastewater streams that may impact the surrounding environment. Manufacturers of personal care products should conduct laboratory analysis to determine the levels of dioxane in their products, and manufacturers using dioxane in their processes should analyze their waste streams for possible dioxane content.

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Testing for Trihalomethanes in Your Water (TTHM)

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Swimming in chlorinated waterChlorine has been used to disinfect water for almost a century due to its ability to kill bacteria and viruses in water. The use of chlorine as a disinfectant has been an effective contribution to public health eliminating plagues such as cholera and typhoid, and reducing the incidence of intestinal illness and other health problems caused by waterborne pathogens such as cryptosporidium. The benefits of disinfection, however, do not come without an effect.

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PFOA and Related Compounds

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

PFOAs may adversely affect the liverIn the early 2000s, the EPA began to investigate the synthetic compound Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA or C8) and its salts, primarily Ammonium Perfluorooctanate (APFO) and other fluoropolymers that may metabolize or degrade into PFOA. These compounds are of interest because of their similarity to another compound known as Perfluorooctyl Sulfonate (PFOS). PFOS was designated a persistent organic pollutant and the primary worldwide manufacturer ceased making it in 2001.

There is still controversy over PFOA’s toxicity, though the compound is persistent (doesn’t biodegrade, hydrolyse or photolyse), bioaccumulates in human and animal tissue (binds to proteins in the blood and liver), and biomagnifies up the food chain. In 2007, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published the results of two studies on the levels of 11 different polyfluorochemicals in humans. In those studies PFOS, PFOA and Perfluorohexane Sulfonic Acid (PFHS) were found in 98% of those tested, confirming widespread exposure to these compounds. Exposure may occur through consumption of contaminated food or water or through the use of products containing these compounds, but not all sources are known or understood.

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Analytical Considerations for Air Samples for Vapor Intrusion Investigations

Monday, February 5th, 2007

The term “vapor intrusion” refers to the migration of volatile chemicals from subsurface contaminated sources into overlying residential or commercial structures. “Historically, it was thought that vapor intrusion was only an issue where the source of the contaminants was very shallow and the magnitude of the contamination was very great. It is now known that the previous assumptions about the mechanisms that could lead to exposure to vapor intrusion were not complete (NYS DEC DER Vapor Intrusion Guidance).” For a growing number of federal, state and local agencies, as well as environmental consultants and laboratories, vapor intrusion could emerge as the next major environmental challenge.

Vapor intrusion is not a new phenomenon— for some environmental experts, it has been recognized as a potential pathway of contamination for almost 20 years. In the late 1980s, the first vapor intrusion studies were carried out to evaluate potential health effects from chronic exposure to volatile organic compounds. Presently, vapor intrusion is of growing concern to the environmental community due to a number of factors, such as increased recognition of it as a potential pathway for exposure and the risks associated with that exposure, as well as the location and the number of potential sites for investigation and remediation. With this increased focus comes ongoing debate regarding the mechanism of the exposure pathway, compliance concentrations of contaminants, identification of sites, sampling approaches, analytical methodology, use and validity of current models, screening approaches, and risk assessment, among other topics.

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Selective Ion Monitoring (SIM) for Low Level Applications in Vapor Samples

Friday, October 3rd, 2003

Selective-Ion-Monitoring-for-Low-Level-Applications-in-Vapor-SamplesGas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is the method of choice for the identification of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in vapor samples (e.g. EPA methods TO-14A and TO-15). As various state and federal agencies more frequently require facilities to address risk-based concentrations, such as the low level preliminary remediation goals (PRGs), they find that the standard method is not able to reach the ultra-low levels needed. To address these requirements, CAS’ Simi Valley, California lab has developed a method using selective ion monitoring (SIM) to measure the compounds. SIM is a sensitivity enhancement technique, where the mass spectrometer is programmed to scan for only those ions that are pertinent to the compounds of interest (2-3 mass ions scanned per compound) while ignoring non-essential ions. The mass spectrometer becomes a highly sensitive compound-specific detector.

The driving force for the lower limits has been health risk assessment activities in the indoor and ambient air arena. The exposure criteria for many compounds are being re-evaluated constantly. A recent symposium sponsored by the Groundwater Resources Association (GRA) on subsurface vapor intrusion to indoor air has recommended that the SIM analytical technique be used. For example, trichloroethene (TCE) will have a reporting limit of 1.0 mg/m3 (0.19 ppbv) using the standard full scan method. In contrast, the reporting limit of 0.05 mg/m3 (0.0093 ppbv) for TCE will be achieved with the SIM technique. This meets or exceeds most risk-based concentration criteria. Lower limits are occasionally requested and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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