Sampling and Analysis of Emerging Pollutants

Air Methods, Monitoring, and Technology
Oral Presentation

Prepared by , J. Mayser, H. Martin

Contact Information:; +441443230935


Emerging contaminants pose one of the most difficult challenges for analytical scientists. There is pressure to understand the scale of the problem but often the techniques used for the discovery of these contaminants does not then lend itself to larger scale studies and a fast turn-around time.

In recent years there have been two classes of contaminants which have grabbed headlines; PFAS and micro-plastics. In this presentation we aim to show how thermal desorption GC-MS be used to tackle some of the questions surrounding these two high profile emerging contaminant types and highlight the work being carried out to validate routine sampling and analysis of these compounds from a variety of matrices.

PFAS compounds are heat and stain resistant and have been in used globally since the 1940s when discovery of their unique properties made them ideal for a wide range of applications. PFOA and PFOS were the most extensively produced and are subsequently the most studied of these chemicals. The rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, especially in drinking water and waste water, has been driving the research into this topic. In addition to the concerns of water contamination, it’s feared that PFAS are also adversely effecting air quality. We will discuss as part of this talk how Thermal desorption can be used to study these compounds in air.

Microplastics are any type of plastic fragment smaller than 5 mm. When collected in water and air they pose a unique challenge for characterisation as the sample is a mixture of different plastic types. Thermal degradation has been used for decades in the analysis of plastics. By heating, the polymer is converted to smaller molecules, which are amenable for analysis by GC/MS. This presentation will show the advanced in sampling and analysis of MPs from air and water using thermal desorption-GC/MS.