Development and Evaluation of a Novel Sampling Method to Determine the Phase Partitioning of Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds

EPA Grant Number: R825270
Title: Development and Evaluation of a Novel Sampling Method to Determine the Phase Partitioning of Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds
Investigators: Koutrakis, Petros , Sioutas, Constantinos , Lawrence, Joy , Wolfson, Mike
Current Investigators: Koutrakis, Petros , Sioutas, Constantinos
Institution: Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: December 1, 1996 through November 30, 1999 (Extended to November 11, 2000)
Project Amount: $409,507
RFA: Air Quality (1996) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air


The objectives of this proposed research include development and evaluation of a novel sampling method that separates the particulate and gas phases of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and minimizes reactions of collected material with reactive gases (O3, HNO3, HONO, SO2) during sampling. The sampler will also allow characterization of the particulate phase size distribution. The evaluation will include determination of collection efficiency, precision, and capacity of a flat-plate diffusion denuder for collecting gas-phase SVOCs (specifically, PAHs and PCBs) and O3, HNO3, HONO, and SO2. Also included will be tests of capacity and collection efficiency of the sorbent particles for the target PCBs and PAHs for new sorbent beds to be used for collecting the particulate and gas phases of SVOCs. In addition, analytical procedures for fast and efficient extraction of both particulate and gas phase SVOCs for subsequent chemical analysis will be developed. The research will also include a field study to compare the new method with currently available sampling methods, such as filter packs, diffusion denuders, and low pressure Impactors. Also, a comparison will be made for the observed particle/gas partitioning for PAHs and PCBs with predictions of previously developed models. The new technology will provide accurate, sensitive, and unbiased information on the phase distribution of individual SVOCs, as a function of particle size distribution, with negligible bias by sampling artifacts. The method is designed to minimize the following limitations of currently available technology for SVOC sampling: (1) positive sampling artifacts resulting from adsorption of gas phase SVOCs on filter media; (2) negative sampling artifacts resulting from volatilization losses of SVOCs from collected particulates; and (3) sampling artifacts resulting from interaction of collected particulates with reactive gases. Some examples of potential applications include: investigation and understanding of the concentration, fate, and transport of SVOCs in the atmosphere; validation and improvement of existing models for phase distribution of SVOCs; measurement of exposure-related health effects and confirmation of mandated reductions in health risks due to SVOCs; and design of control technologies for SVOCs.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 14 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 10 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

air, ambient air, atmosphere, tropospheric, exposure, toxics, PAHs, PCBs, environmental chemistry, measurement methods, Northeast, Atlantic coast, Massachusetts, MA, Region 1., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, particulate matter, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, State, Atmospheric Sciences, Ecological Risk Assessment, ambient air quality, particle size, phase partitioning, particulates, air pollutants, collection efficiency, gas phase, aerosol partitioning, air quality criteria, ambient monitoring, chemical composition, air sampling, PAH, Massachusetts (MA), chemical amalysis, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), atmospheric chemistry

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1997
  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final Report