Calibration of polyurethane foam (PUF) disk passive air samplers for quantitative measurement of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): Factors influencing sampling rates

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Colleges, School and Institutes


PUF disk passive air samplers are increasingly employed for monitoring of POPs in ambient air. In order to utilize them as quantitative sampling devices, a calibration experiment was conducted. Time integrated indoor air concentrations of PCBs and PBDEs were obtained from a low volume air sampler operated over a 50 d period alongside the PUF disk samplers in the same office microenvironment. Passive sampling rates for the fully-sheltered sampler design employed in our research were determined for the 51 PCB and 7 PBDE congeners detected in all calibration samples. These values varied from 0.57 to 1.55 m(3) d(-1) for individual PCBs and from 1.1 to 1.9 m(3) d(-1) for PBDEs. These values are appreciably lower than those reported elsewhere for different PUF disk sampler designs (e.g. partially sheltered) employed under different conditions (e.g. in outdoor air), and derived using different calibration experiment configurations. This suggests that sampling rates derived for a specific sampler configuration deployed under specific environmental conditions, should not be extrapolated to different sampler configurations. Furthermore, our observation of variable congener-specific sampling rates (consistent with other studies), implies that more research is required in order to understand fully the factors that influence sampling rates. Analysis of wipe samples taken from the inside of the sampler housing, revealed evidence that the housing surface scavenges particle bound PBDEs. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-455
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • indoor air, passive sampler design, passive sampling rates, POPs