Quantifying Organic Contaminants

A new ASTM International standard will provide a test method related to quantifying volatile organic compounds through mass spectrometry. The standard (D8460) was developed by ASTM’s soil and rock committee (D18).

The standard defines a practical way to perform quantitative analyses with a continuous point-source monitor. According to Chairman of ASTM D18.21.02 Lorne Everett, this standard broadens the available methods in settings where fugitive, high-toxicity emissions need to be identified. Potential use cases include vapor intrusion into buildings or brownfield remediation sites, where contaminants complicate the development or reuse of land. 

“Currently, these scenarios are based on hit-or-miss approaches, or even worse, the method averages emissions and the results therefore do not reflect acute health risks,” says Everett. “With regulatory agencies having the ability to test for fugitive emissions at the ultra-trace level and not needing to rely on averaged results, regulatory limitations will be modified in the near future.”

“This is a breakthrough technology offering extremely fast analysis of a broad range of contaminants in the PPT range,” says Everett. “The benefit for developers and contractors is that the standard brings a novel approach closer to practicality. With a real-time monitoring ability in place, contractors and developers can apply this technique in the field and have instant results ready whether contamination has been successfully removed or not.” 

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