Testing Mercury in Air

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Testing Mercury from Vapor Intrusion Sites

ALS Environmental offers analysis of mercury vapor samples via NIOSH Method 6009.

At sites where mercury contaminates the subsurface, elemental mercury in vapor may be of concern. The US EPA OSWER 2002 Draft Vapor Intrusion Guidance document notes that mercury is sufficiently volatile and toxic to be considered at vapor intrusion sites.1

Several high-profile mercury vapor intrusion cases have caught media attention in the past years, highlighting the increasing concern.

NIOSH Method 6009, originally written for workplace personal monitoring, can be easily adapted to sample indoor/ambient air, subslab vapor, or exterior soil gas. Sample collection is on a hopcalite solid sorbent tube. Samples are typically collected at approximately 200 mL/min using a low flow personal sampling pump. Upon receipt at the laboratory, samples are desorbed in an acidic solution and the extracts are analyzed by cold vapor atomic adsorption (CVAA).

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) residential indoor air screening level2 for mercury is 0.3 μg/m3. EPA guidance contains the same screening level for indoor air, and additionally contains a shallow soil gas screening level for mercury of 3.0 μg/m3. ALS Environmental offers a reporting limit for mercury of 0.025 μg/tube. With a sample volume of 100L, our reporting limits will be less than the most stringent vapor intrusion screening level for this compound.


Recommended Sample Volume

ALS Environmental
Reporting Limit**

Residential Screening Level**

Indoor Air




Shallow Soil Vapor




** μg/m3


  1. US EPA OSWER Draft Guidance for Evaluating the Vapor Intrusion to Indoor Air Pathway from Groundwater and Soils (Subsurface Vapor Intrusion Guidance), EPA530-D-02-004, November 2002.
  2. NJDEP Generic Vapor Intrusion Screening Levels, Table 1 from Vapor Intrusion Guidance, March 2007.


View the actual NIOSH Method 6009 (PDF)...

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