Analysis of Organochlorine Pesticides and PCB's using US EPA Method 608.3

New Focus on Old Contaminants (e.g., lead, mercury, PCBs)
Poster Presentation

Prepared by C. Elmore1, R. Burrows2
1 - OI Analytical, 151 Graham Road, College Station, Texas, 77842, United States
2 - Test America, 4955 Yarrow St, Arvada, Colorado, 80002, United States

Contact Information:; 979-446-1576


Organochlorine pesticides have been very widely used and occur in a variety of sample matrices including water, soil, and food. These toxic pesticide residues persist in the environment. They are usually present in samples at a very low concentration and there can be many potentially interfering compounds extracted from the matrix during sample preparation1. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) were widely used in the past in transformer oils because of their desirable chemical and physical properties. They, too, persist in the environment and are considered toxic2. For both of these classes of compounds a sensitive, selective method is required. US EPA Method 608.3 is a GC method for the determination organochlorine pesticides and PCB’s in industrial discharges and other environmental samples by gas chromatography (GC) combined with a halogen-specific detector (HSD)3. Many environmental samples have significant matrix interferences yet a very low reporting level is needed thus a very sensitive and selective detector is required. Method 608, 608.1 and 608.2 have been available for many years as guidance to meet requirements for low concentration of analytes in environmental samples. These methods specifically cited the use of the electron capture detector (ECD).4 In 2016 Method 608.3 replaced these methods from 1993. Method 608.3 includes options for halogen specific detectors other than ECD such as ELCD and XSD.
This poster describes improved analytical performance using newer technology such as better GC’s, columns, and detectors. Results from two labs using two different detectors, ECD and XSD, will be compared. Harmonizing this method with other EPA methods such as 8081 and 8082 will also be explored.