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Posts Tagged ‘VOC’

Vapor Intrusion Investigations: Air Sampling Tips for Meeting Data Quality Objectives

Monday, September 26th, 2011

N. Dagnillo1, L. Hill2, A. Fortune3, A. Smith4, and S. Thompson2
1Trihydro Corporation, 3001 E. Pershing Blvd, Suite 115, Cheyenne, WY 82007
2Trihydro Corporation, 1537 Riverside Ave., Suite 101, Fort Collins, CO 80524
3Columbia Analytical Services, Inc., 2655 Park Center Drive, Suite A, Simi Valley, CA 93065
4Trihydro Corporation, 9460 Calle Milano, Atascadero, CA 93422

Vapor intrusion is a fate and transport process characterized by the upward movement of volatile chemicals from subsurface contamination (e.g., buried waste, contaminated groundwater) into overlying buildings. The potential for adverse human health effects from exposure to indoor air vapors has motivated private, state, and federal entities to develop guidance documents and protocols specific to the collection and analysis of soil vapor data.

Read more about Vapor Intrusion Investigations…

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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Naphthalene Air Sampling from Manufactured Gas Plants

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Naphthalene is a contaminant of concern at former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) and other property redevelopment sites across the country. A major component of coal tar waste and a possible human carcinogen (EPA Group C), naphthalene is a chemical that may adversely affect human health at remediation sites. Due to its boiling point and vapor pressure, naphthalene can exhibit both volatile and semi-volatile characteristics; therefore the question can arise as to how to properly measure naphthalene in ambient air.

Two commonly applied methods of measuring vapor phase naphthalene include EPA Method TO-15, which utilizes whole air sampling in passivated stainless steel canisters; and EPA Method TO-13A, which utilizes high volume sorbent based sampling with polyurethane foam/XAD resin cartridges. Analytical differences between these two methods will be discussed, keeping reference to naphthalene’s unique chemical & physical properties.

This case study will present weekly data spanning a twelve month period (December 2006 – December 2007) from co-located EPA Method TO-15 and TO-13A ambient air samples at the perimeter of two MGP cleanup remediation sites. Distinct trends are noted and discussed in this paper when comparing the concentration results from the two methods.

Read the complete naphthalene air sampling case study… (Acrobat PDF)

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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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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Odor Scan Evaluation of a Composting Facility

Friday, February 4th, 2005

Odor Scan Evaluation of a Composting FacilityColumbia Analytical recently conducted a field evaluation of Odor Scan, a suite of methods that has been designed to address compounds that have very low odor thresholds and are irritating at low levels. The suite consists of sampling and analytical methods for carboxylic acids (volatile organic/fatty acids), amines, reduced sulfur compounds and odorous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), and high molecular weight aldehydes and alcohols. Two of these methods (ie. amines, carboxylic acids) were developed and validated by Columbia Analytical.

The study was conducted to evaluate the new methods under field conditions and to collect data to profile the airborne contaminants and odors associated with a composting facility. Due to the wide range of compounds anticipated and the fact that some analyte overlap exists among the methods, this sampling event was also used to compare sampling and analytical methods and sampling media.

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Sampling and Analysis of the Atmosphere Surrounding an Egyptian Mummy

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

The Department of Antiquities Conservation of the J. Paul Getty Museum recently requested assistance from CAS’ Simi Valley Air Quality Laboratory to sample and analyze the atmosphere surrounding a second century Egyptian mummy. About six years ago, the mummy was sealed in a case containing ambient air. The museum wished to determine the volatile and semivolatile organic compounds off-gassing from the mummy. One purpose of the study was to determine the impact of off-gassing on other artifacts that were to be displayed with it.

Compounds of interest included low molecular weight organic acids, volatile organic chemicals, and the semivolatile compound, guaiacol. Guaiacol is a component of cedar oil and one of the embalming fluids used by the Egyptians.The other chemicals were associated with previous restoration activities with the mummy.

In order to collect the samples, two holes were drilled in the case housing the mummy. Sampling ports consisting of Teflon tubing (1/4” OD) and a ferrule and female Swagelok fitting were installed in the holes. The ports were sealed off at the time of installation and only opened during sampling periods.

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