Evaluation of two types of diffusive samplers and adsorbents for measuring 1,3-butadiene and benzene in air

15 November 2019

Strandberg, B., Sunesson, A.L., Olsson, K., Levin, J.O., Ljungqvist, G., Sundgren, M., Sällsten, G., Barregard, L.

Atmospheric Environment, 2005, 39(22), 4101-4110

1,3-Butadiene and benzene are common air pollutants, the former being a suspected and the latter an established carcinogen. Road traffic and industry emissions are sources of these compounds. In order to assess the risk posed to the general population by ambient levels of these pollutants, diffusive samplers capable of monitoring them over both long timescales (weeks) and shorter periods (8–24 h) are needed. In this study, we evaluated a new diffusive sampler, the SKC-Ultra, and a partially validated sampler, the Radiello, both of which are compatible with thermal desorption. Two adsorbents, the graphitized carbon blacks Carbopack X and Carbograph 5, were also evaluated. Standard atmospheres of the target compounds were generated in order to determine uptake rates and to evaluate the effects of concentration, relative humidity, reverse-diffusion and storage of samplers. The samplers and adsorbents were also tested in a field study. Analysis and detection were performed using an automatic thermal desorber (ATD) connected to a gas chromatograph-flame ionization detector (GC/FID). Both samplers showed much higher uptake rates (ca. 25–50 fold) than those reported for the Perkin-Elmer sampler. The 24 h uptake rates for 1,3-butadiene and benzene obtained using the SKC-Ultra filled with Carbopack X were 14.9±0.8 (SD) and 16.0±1.4 (SD) ml·min−1, respectively, and the corresponding figures for the Radiello were 22.0±0.9 (SD) and 30.4±1.1 (SD) ml·min−1. Varying the atmospheric concentrations of the compounds had no effect on the uptake rate for the Carbopack X adsorbent and the samplers could be stored up to one month after sampling. Uptake rates of 1,3-butadiene declined over longer periods (one week). This was probably due to reverse diffusion, and the effect was less pronounced with the SKC-Ultra sampler. In summary, we consider the two samplers to be suitable both for stationary and personal monitoring of 1,3-butadiene and benzene, for the general population and for workplaces.