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Evaluation of Uncertainty Associated to Determination of Particle-bound PAHs in Ambient Air by TD-GC/MS and Soxhlet-GC/MS

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DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.12.0578
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Iñaki Elorduy , Nieves Durana, José Antonio García, María Carmen Gómez, Lucio Alonso

  • Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department, School of Engineering, University of the Basque Country, Alameda de Urquijo s/n, E-48013 Bilbao, Spain


Evaluation of uncertainty associated to analytical measurement of PAHs in ambient air.
Study was focused on analyses of PM10 by two methodologies: TD-GC/MS and Soxhlet-GC/MS.
TD-GC/MS method showed lower measurement uncertainty (< 10%).
Calibration and recovery were the major uncertainty contributors.


The knowledge of the uncertainty associated to an analytical method is necessary to evaluate the quality of the results measured by itself. In this work the uncertainty associated to analytical measurement of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs) in ambient air by thermal desorption coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC/MS) was evaluated. The study was focused on analyses of particulate phase (PM10) and the results were compared to those obtained a conventional solvent extraction (Soxhlet-GC/MS). The main sources for combined uncertainty were calibration curve, recovery of the extraction stage, area or volume of sample and volume of air. The TD-GC/MS reported lower combined uncertainty (< 10%) than Soxhlet-GC/MS (values between 11 and 18%) for measurement of particle-bound PAHs in air. The major uncertainty contributions resulted from the recovery of each analyzed PAH and the calibration curves.


Uncertainty PAHs Thermal desorption Soxhlet extraction GC-MS PM10 samples

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