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SAMPLE ANALYSIS OF NATIVE AIR FILTERS FOR CHARACTERIZATION AND EXTENT MAPPING OF BIOLOGICAL INCIDENTS
Calfee, Michael, S. Lee, S. Shah, Ronald Mickelsen, K. Karim, J. Ackelsberg, S. Nelson, A. Smith, H. Shamma, R. James, Z. Willenberg, R. Spurbeck, A. Wenzel, D. Pfister, M. Gemelli, J. Beare, N. Russart, K. Hofacre, AND F. Cruz. SAMPLE ANALYSIS OF NATIVE AIR FILTERS FOR CHARACTERIZATION AND EXTENT MAPPING OF BIOLOGICAL INCIDENTS. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-19/082, 2019.
Project Report documenting the compatibility of current Bacillus anthracis detection/quantification methods with Native Air Sample Filters (i.e., filters and media currently deployed in urban areas collecting particulates, such as HVAC filters, bus air filters, Air Quality Filters, etc.). Determining the compatibility of these media types with analytical methods may lead to development of novel sampling methods following a large-scale biological incident. Such Native Air Filters can be collected and analyzed to help determine extent of contamination or triage buildings.
Following a biological contamination incident, the spatial extent of the contamination should be determined using established sampling and analytical methods such as culture or RV-PCR. A previous study demonstrated that a sampling strategy involving native air samplers could be implemented in an urban area with the cooperation and collaboration of the public-private sector. Particulate filters indigenous to the affected area, and although intended for other applications (e.g., ambient air quality particulate sampler or building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning [HVAC] filter), may be operating during and/or immediately after an incident. Thus, those ubiquitous native air filters (NAFs) offer the potential to better map an incident by having a potentially higher quantity of organisms collected and/or provide a higher fidelity of mapping. Inherently, those NAFs will have or will be collecting ambient particulate matter prior to and/or during the incident. The impact of the ambient particulate load on the NAFs may interfere with the current analytical methods to recover, identify, and quantify B. anthracis. EPA seeks to assess the feasibility of using NAFs for potential use in biological incident extent mapping. If feasible, it could facilitate subsequent sampling plans, increase the speed of a response, and potentially save cost.