Columbia Analytical Services

Air Sampling, Lab Analysis, and Data Evaluation Presented at AIH Conference

A Professional Development Course (PDC) entitled “Tools of the Trade — Vapor Intrusion Investigation for the Industrial Hygienist” was recently co-taught by Alyson Fortune of Columbia Analytical at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exhibition (AIHce), May 31-June 5, 2008 in Minneapolis, Minn. The all day interactive training course was presented by Alyson Fortune, Bharti Ujjani, CIH and Peter Granholm, CIH, PG along with Helen Dawson, PhD. from USEPA Region Eight.

Ms. Fortune taught the air sampling, laboratory analysis, and data evaluation section of the PDC. This section compared and contrasted the available air sampling media options for vapor intrusion, described in detail the concept of using helium as a leak testing tracer for soil gas sampling, and showed an example of a typical air laboratory report, which pointed out key features consultants should examine when reviewing vapor intrusion data.

In its first year, the Vapor Intrusion PDC was sold out and ranked in the top 25% of all PDCs. AIHce is a premier annual event for thousands of practicing industrial hygiene and environmental health & safety professionals.

Ms. Fortune is an Air Quality Scientist with Columbia Analytical in Simi Valley, Calif.

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4 Responses to “Air Sampling, Lab Analysis, and Data Evaluation Presented at AIH Conference”


    I just want to find out the key components for undergraduate lectures on Air Sampling and Analysis
    Best regards

  2. Alyson Fortune, Columbia Analytical Says:

    There are many components that could be included in a curriculum about air sampling & analysis. You could potentially break the curriculum into several major sections: ambient air monitoring (criteria pollutants, as are covered by the US EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards), ambient air monitoring (toxic organic pollutants/hazardous air pollutants), stationary source testing (emissions monitoring), industrial hygiene/workplace air monitoring, and indoor air monitoring. The presentation mentioned in this news item was related to air sampling & analysis associated with vapor intrusion investigations, which would be a separate category related to cleanup of hazardous waste sites.

    Another way of organizing the material would be to touch upon different sampling techniques. For example, you could discuss real-time air monitoring with handheld devices (e.g. photoionization detectors, flame ionization detectors, multi-gas/LEL meters, etc.), real time ambient air monitors (e.g. continuous emissions monitoring systems equipped with chemiluminescence detectors for NO/NO2/NOx, nondispersive infrared sensors for CO/CO2, UV detectors for SO2, automated flame ionization detectors for total hydrocarbon analysis, etc.), whole air time-integrated sampling (e.g. using canisters or tedlar bags for permanent gases, volatile organic compounds, or reduced sulfur compounds), sorbent based time-integrated sampling (e.g. using sorbent tubes or badges for volatile or semi-volatile organic compounds), filter based time-integrated sampling (e.g. using various types of filters for particulate matter, aerosols, or airborne metals), impinger based time-integrated sampling (e.g. sampling for isocyanates), sampling for biological species (e.g. mold, bacteria) and sampling for radioactive compounds (e.g. radon). With either approach, there would be potentially a great amount of material to cover, but one take home message for students would be that there is no one sampling & analytical approach that is appropriate for all potential airborne compounds of concern.

  3. Zuraidah Says:

    Q : I currently performing air sampling (based on bacteria & mold). My major difficulties are to use my data in order to feedback the air quality in the facility. The facility is divided into 7 levels. Most of the level of course shall give several spike which above the threshold limit. My question is what is the best way in reporting the data to the client. I did the trending on monthly basis plus the % species that was found in the air sampling. The data also triggers there are problems in our air-cond & ventilation systems. But it is so hard to keep all the puzzles into one big frame that could show the overall picture of the air quality of the facility. Do you have any suggestion on the issue??

  4. Alyson Fortune, Columbia Analytical Says:

    Interpretation of sampling results for biological parameters such as mold and bacteria can be complicated. To date, there are no Federal standards or recommendations on what are considered acceptable concentrations of these parameters in workplace environments. The US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has some information about mold in the workplace on their website ( I would also recommend reviewing information on the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) website related to mold ( In addition to these national resources, many state Departments of Health have regional mold/bacteria information available on their websites. Good luck!

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