EPA Method 600/4-81-045

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Analyte Method Reporting Limit
Aroclor 1016 1 mg/kg
Aroclor 1221 2 mg/kg
Aroclor 1232 1 mg/kg
Aroclor 1242 1 mg/kg
Aroclor 1248 1 mg/kg
Aroclor 1254 1 mg/kg
Aroclor 1260 1 mg/kg

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Common Concerns for Aroclor Testing:

  • PCBs have been present in the environment for many decades, possibly changing the congener profile over time due to degradation and weathering
  • Often there are many interfering compounds in a sample masking the identifying chromatogram peak pattern
  • A significant amount of PCBs may be present in a sample, yet the chromatogram doesn't show a peak pattern consistent with any Aroclor standard available
  • Recent data has shown that 12 individual PCB congeners are more toxic than the others.
  • It is possible a sample with a significant amount of PCB congeners present is not as much of an ecological risk as a sample with fewer but more toxic PCB congeners present

As a result, there has been an increased interest in the analysis for individual PCB congeners rather than the analysis for PCB Aroclors.

EPA Method 1668 is used to analyze individual PCB congeners by high resolution gas chromatography with high resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/HRMS) using isotope dilution. This method was originally developed by the EPA to determine the concentrations of the 12 toxic PCB congeners as designated by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1999, the EPA released Revision A of the method, which expanded its scope to include all 209 PCB congeners. However, approximately 30 percent of the PCB congeners co-elute and are reported either as pairs, triplets, or even quadruplets. Method 1668A is applicable to aqueous, solid, multiphase and tissue matrices. It is used under many different regulatory programs including CWA and RCRA.

See the advantages of method 1668A...


EPA Method 8082 can also be used to analyze for some individual PCB congeners by increasing the sensitivity of the method by using advanced analytical methods. Typical reporting limits are 5 ng/L (ppt) for water and 0.5 µg/kg (ppb) for tissue and sediment. While the reporting limits are not quite as low as those from a high resolution methods like EPA 1668, the enhanced Method 8082 is less expensive and may be a good alternative.

See the advantages of the enhanced method 8082...

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Learn about PCB Congener Testing by the EPA CLP Method...

View the PCB Analyte List