We call this ‘saturation.’ We have tested the samplers in highly contaminated environments for 30 days, and did not see evidence of saturation. It is highly unlikely that the samplers would be saturated, but the samplers could reach equilibrium, that is, be at the same concentration as the air. However, even at equilibrium, the sampler will be able to detect changes in the chemical concentration, and will accurately reflect the average concentrations.
Yes! Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are associated with unconventional natural gas drilling, and we have used our samplers to detect these chemicals. Read more about our work in Ohio here.
The passive samplers cannot detect mold, mildew, radon, lead or carbon monoxide. They will be able to detect certain gaseous chemicals found in cleaning solutions and paint fumes.
Yes, we can detect certain pesticides and fertilizers, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the smoke from field burning.
We can detect chemical concentrations as low as 1 part per trillion (ppt) in the air. To put that in perspective, imagine the entire state of Indiana was covered in kitchen tile and each tile was 1 square foot. Imagine all those squares are orange, but one square is black. That is 1 part per trillion. We can detect higher concentrations as well, like parts per billion (ppb) and parts per million (ppm).
We use a solvent extraction process to remove the chemicals from the wristband. After the extraction, the extract is analyzed to determine what chemicals were present in the sampler.
We are primarily interested in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, because they are contaminants of concern at many polluted sites like Superfund sites. PAHs are also associated with urban pollution, from cars and coal burning, as well as crude oil spills and other chemical spills. Some PAHs are known or thought to cause cancer, while other PAHs are associated with other health issues. For example, phenanthrene is a PAH known to adversely affect lung function. Learn more about the chemicals we can evaluate, such as pesticides and flame retardants.