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

Category: Air Toxics

Volume: 18 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 1236-1245
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.


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


Uncertainty PAHs Thermal desorption Soxhlet extraction GC-MS PM10 samples

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