Brent Pautler, PhD. (ON), coauthored a paper entitled “Field evaluation of a low-uptake VOC passive sampler suitable for long-term deployments” published in Atmospheric Pollution Research.

Robert Healy (Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Toronto, ON) was the lead author and the coauthors in addition to Brent included Hester Groenevelt and Todd McAlary, Ph.D. (Geosyntec Consultants), along with (Jonathan Wang, Uwayemi Sofowote, Yushan Su, Anthony Munoz and Aaron Todd (Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Toronto, ON).

Brent is the Chemistry Services manager and received his Ph.D. environmental analytical chemistry in 2013 where he gained advanced technical experience in spectroscopy, chromatography, mass spectrometry, passive sampling, and chemistry informatics. Throughout his career, he has worked with scientists, engineers, and consultants, applying his chemistry and information technology expertise to help them solve unique problems in the laboratory and the field. His role includes managing and advancing SiREM’s passive sampling portfolio, analytical testing services while supporting Photonics business development.

Atmospheric Pollution Research (APR) is an international journal designed for the publication of articles on air pollution. Papers present novel experimental results, theory and modeling of air pollution on local, regional, or global scales. Areas covered are research on inorganic, organic, and persistent organic air pollutants, air quality monitoring, air quality management, atmospheric dispersion and transport, air-surface (soil, water, and vegetation) exchange of pollutants, dry and wet deposition, indoor air quality, exposure assessment, health effects, satellite measurements, natural emissions, atmospheric chemistry, greenhouse gases, and effects on climate change.

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Published Abstract

Passive samplers have proven to be effective for continuous monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in ambient air in remote, urban and industrial environments. Thermal desorption tubes fitted with endcaps that facilitate passive uptake through diffusion are now routinely used for monitoring fugitive benzene emissions from refineries and petrochemical facilities across North America (EPA Method 325A/B). However, deployment periods of 14 days are typically employed to minimize the risk of poor retention, requiring 26 deployments per year to return an annual average concentration for comparison with chronic exposure health-based standards. Here, we explore extending the deployment duration of these passive samplers to one, two and three months by limiting VOC uptake rates using an alternative diffusive endcap featuring a smaller cross-sectional area. Field testing was performed beside a major highway during two separate three-month campaigns. Uptake rates for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) were observed to remain linear for deployments of up to three months when using the low-uptake endcaps. Application of the low-uptake endcaps and the uptake rates determined here will enable annual average concentrations of BTEX to be calculated using only four tube deployments per year. The cost savings associated with this decreased deployment frequency will facilitate increased spatial resolution during future exposure assessment studies. The stability of selected air toxics within the tubes was also assessed and the results suggest that while aromatic VOCs are stable for storage times of at least 70 days, chloroform and trichloroethylene begin to degrade within two weeks of sampling.

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