Passive sampling for volatile organic compounds in indoor air-controlled laboratory comparison of four sampler types

Todd McAlary, Hester Groenevelt, Stephen Disher, Jason Arnold, Suresh Seethapathy, Paolo Sacco, Derrick Crump, Brian Schumacher, Heidi Hayes, Paul Johnson, Tadeusz Górecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes laboratory testing of four passive diffusive samplers for assessing indoor air concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including SKC Ultra II, Radiello®, Waterloo Membrane Sampler (WMS) and Automated Thermal Desorption (ATD) tubes with two different sorbents (Tenax TA and Carbopack B). The testing included 10 VOCs (including chlorinated ethenes, ethanes, and methanes, aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons), spanning a range of properties and including some compounds expected to pose challenges (naphthalene, methyl ethyl ketone). Tests were conducted at different temperatures (17 to 30°C), relative humidities (30 to 90% RH), face velocities (0.014 to 0.41 m s-1), concentrations (1 to 100 parts per billion by volume [ppbv]) and sampling durations (1 to 7 days). The results show that all of the passive samplers provided data that met the success criteria (relative percent difference [RPD] ≤ 45% of active sample concentrations and coefficient of variation [COV] ≤ 30%) in the majority of cases, but some compounds were problematic for some samplers. The passive sampler uptake rates depend to varying degrees on the sampler, sorbent, target compounds and environmental conditions, so field calibration is advantageous for the highest levels of data quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-905
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Medicine(all)


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