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The Sampling and Analysis of Acrolein From Ambient Air Using O-Benzylhydroxylamine Coated Cartridges

Presented at the Air and Waste Management Association Symposuim on Air Quality Measurement Methods and Technology, November 2010

Extended Abstract #26

Kristia Parker, Eric Grosjean, Marcus Hueppe, and Sucha Parmar

Atmospheric Analysis and Consulting, Inc., 1534 Eastman Avenue, Suite A, Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 650-1642


Acrolein is a highly reactive unsaturated aldehyde that is considered to be an extremely toxic substance with significant health risks that include severe irritation of the lungs, mucous membrane and skin. It ranks high in most air toxicity assessments and is listed by the EPA on the priority list of hazardous substances. A person’s main source of exposure to Acrolein is usually through the inhalation of contaminated air. Sources of Acrolein include emissions from combustion processes such as cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust, emissions from its use in manufacturing, and vapors from cooking oil or grease being overheated. The standard method typically used for the analysis of ambient carbonyls (EPA Method TO-11A) has proven to be unreliable for the measurement of Acrolein. This method collects carbonyls on acidified 2,4-Dinitrophenylhydrazine coated silica gel cartridges forming an Acrolein hydrazone derivative that is unstable and breaks down producing inaccurate results. AAC is developing a method for the analysis of Acrolein in ambient air based on NCASI Method 105.01, in which silica gel cartridges are coated with O-Benzylhydroxylamine. When sampled, an Acrolein oxime derivative is formed on the cartridge, which is believed to be more stable than the hydrazone derivative. The cartridge is extracted with Hexane and the extract is analyzed using Gas Chromatography with Nitrogen Phosphorous Detection. Preliminary studies have shown promising results using this technique for the sampling and analysis of Acrolein in ambient air.

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