Gas-phase cleanup method for analysis of trace atmospheric semivolatile organic compounds by thermal desorption from diffusion denuders

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A novel gas-phase cleanup method was developed for use with a thermal desorption method for analysis of trace semivolatile organic compounds (SOCs) in the atmosphere using diffusion denuder samplers to separate gas-phase from particle-associated fractions. The cleanup selectively removed hydrogen-bonding chemicals from samples, including much of the background matrix of oxidized organic compounds that is present in ambient air samples. Abraham solvation parameters were found to be useful predictors of recovery of compounds through the cleanup method; most compounds with A + B < 0.3 and L ≤ 12.3 were fully recovered through the cleanup method. Addition of the cleanup method successfully produced baseline resolution in air samples and improved method precision. The utility of the method was demonstrated in an investigation of the built environment as a continuing source of semivolatile persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals (PBTs) to the atmosphere. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Chromatography A