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Passive sampling of volatile organic compounds in industrial atmospheres: Uptake rate determinations and application

Vallecillos, Laura, Espallargas, Enedina, Allo, Román, Marcé, Rosa Maria, Borrull, Francesc
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.666 pp. 235-244
BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), desorption, ethylbenzene, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, monitoring, pentane, sampling, styrene, volatile organic compounds
This study describes the implementation of a passive sampling-based method followed by thermal desorption gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC–MS) for the monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in industrial atmospheres. However, in order to employ passive sampling as a reliable sampling technique, a specific diffusive uptake rate is required for each compound. Accordingly, the aim of the present study was twofold. First, the experimental diffusive uptake rates of the target VOCs were determined under real industrial air conditions using Carbopack X thermal desorption tubes, and active sampling as reference method. The sampling campaigns carried out between October 2017 and May 2018 provided us of experimental diffusive uptake rates between 0.40 mL min−1 and 0.70 mL min−1 and stable over time (RSD % < 8%) for up to 41 VOCs. Secondly, the uptake rates obtained experimentally were applied for the determination of VOCs concentrations at 16 sampling sites in the North Industrial Complex of Tarragona. The results showed i-pentane, n-pentane and the compounds known as BTEX as the most representative ones. Moreover, some sporadic peaks of 1,3-butadiene, acrylonitrile, ethylbenzene and styrene resulting from certain industrial activities were detected.