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FAQs

1. What is the difference between TO-14A and TO-15?
2. How do I choose between 1-Liter and 6-Liter Summa Canisters?
3. How do I convert air units?
4. What reporting limits should I expect for my samples?
5. What is the standard turnaround time for deliverables?
6. What is my sample hold time? Is there any preservation needed?
7. How do I ship my Summa Canisters back to Eurofins Air Toxics, Inc.?
8. How long can I keep my canister before sampling?
9. How do I fill out my COC?
10. Does AT require any field QC for canister samples?
11. How much lead time does AT need to prepare media?
12. Does AT provide project specific EDD’s?
13. Will AT analyze for diesel on a canister or tedlar bag sample?
14. Does AT calibrate its field gauges?
15. Does AT send hardcopy results?
16. I requested two analyses but have only received one report, where is the rest of my data ?
17. When are invoices sent?
18. I have received my final report and need to make a change, what do I do?

1. What is the difference between TO-14A and TO-15?

Methods TO-14A and TO-15 are both included in the Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Toxic Organic Compounds in Ambient Air published by the EPA in January 1999. In this second edition of the Compendium, method TO-14A replaced TO-14, and method TO-15 was a new addition to the Compendium. The most significant update to TO-14 was the inclusion of specific quality control requirements for the initial and daily calibrations in the TO-14A method. While both TO-14A and TO-15 methods determine volatile organic compounds in ambient air collected in Summa canister, several major differences exist between the two methods, including water management and allowable instrumentation.

TO-14A and TO-15 have two distinct water management approaches. TO-14A uses a Nafion® dryer to selectively remove water vapor from the sample stream. As the sample stream passes through the Nafion® tubing, water and other light, polar compounds are removed. TO-15 utilizes a multisorbent trap to control moisture prior to introduction to the GC as well as a dry purge step to reduce water content while retaining the target VOCs.

The TO-15 multisorbent/dry purge water management technique allows for the determination of a more comprehensive list of VOCs than described in TO-14A, extending the applicability to include polar compounds. Whereas TO-14A specifies a target list of 40 VOCs, mainly chlorinated hydrocarbons and aromatic compounds, TO-15 is applicable to a much more comprehensive list including compounds such as MTBE, MEK, Acetone, and Ethanol. It is worthwhile to note that TO-15 does not have a specific target list of compounds, but states that the method should be considered when a subset of the 97 VOCs in the Title III Clean Air Amendment (CAA) is needed. Several of the 97 VOCs are highly reactive making standard preparation and analysis problematic. These include compounds such as Formaldehyde, Diazomethane, Triethylamine, and Methyl Isocyanate. Air Toxics routinely reports over 60 VOCs and has the ability to add to this target list for project specific requests. Because of the superior performance, we use the more advanced multisorbent/dry purge water management system for all TO-14A and TO-15 requests and take a variance to the TO-14A requirement.

The second important difference between TO-14A and TO-15 is that TO-14A allows for the use of non-specific detectors as well as specific detectors (such as Mass Spectrometers). TO-15 only allows the use of Mass Spectrometer (MS) for the detection of VOCs. Non-specific detectors such as the Flame Ionization Detector (FID), Electron Capture Detector (ECD), and Photoionization Detector (PID) can be used to quantify VOCs by TO-14A. Both TO-14A and TO-15 describe the use of GC/MS both in the full scan and SIM mode. For many applications, GC/MS provides the data user with more definitive results than a non-specific detector.

 

2. How do I choose between 1-Liter and 6-Liter Summa Canisters?

1-Liter Summa Canisters are mainly used for higher concentration samples (soil gas, flares, etc.). 6-Liter Summa Canisters are primarily used for lower concentration samples (Indoor and Ambient air).

 

3. How do I convert air units?

Eurofins Air Toxics has a units calculator on our website for your convenience. Go to Units Calculator.

 

4. What reporting limits should I expect for my samples?

Reporting limits (RLs) are a function of the analytical system, the pressurization of the sample canister in the laboratory, and the concentration of target and non-target compounds. Sample RL = (Base RL) x (Pressurization Dilution Factor (DF)) x (Analytical DF) The reporting limits provided in your quote reflect the capability of the analytical system. These are often referred to as a 'base reporting limit'.

Pressurization Dilution Factor: The pressurization step performed by the laboratory at the time of receipt dilutes the sample and results in an increase in the base reporting limit. The reporting limit is calculated by multiplying the base reporting limit by the pressurization dilution factor. The pressurization dilution factor is simply the ratio of the final canister pressure and the receipt sample pressure. We have compiled a table of dilution factors for easy reference based on relative vacuum of the sample canister (in. Hg) and the final pressure (psig).

When collecting integrated samples, the flow controllers are set in the laboratory to achieve a final vacuum of approximately 10 to 5 in Hg under normal conditions. (If sampling at altitude, please notify the project manager to insure required sample reporting limits are achieved.) The more sample volume collected (lower vacuum reading), the lower the dilution factor and reporting limit.

Also, the lower the final pressure due to the pressurization step, the lower the dilution factor. The final pressure is typically dependent on the canister size. A 6L canister is typically pressurized to 5 psig, while a 1L canister is typically pressurized to 15 psig to allow for sufficient volume for multiple analytical runs. However, for certain applications, alternative final pressures can be performed to minimize dilution and meet a lower reporting limit.

Example reporting limit calculation for a typical integrated canister sample with no analytical dilution factor:

Receipt Vacuum Final Pressure Pressurization Dilution Factor Example Base Reporting Limit Sample Reporting Limit
5 in Hg 5 psi 1.61 0.50 ppbv 0.80 ppbv
10 in Hg 5 psi 2.01 0.50 ppbv 1.0 ppbv

Analytical Dilution Factor: Once the sample is ready to analyze, the sample may be diluted for several reasons. If a sample contains high levels of a target compound, a smaller load volume may be analyzed in order to report target compounds within calibration range. Alternatively, a sample may contain non-target compounds, often referred to as 'matrix' that necessitates loading a smaller volume to prevent damaging the equipment. For certain applications, techniques are available to minimize dilution due to sample matrix. If this is a concern for your project, please let us know and we will discuss analytical options with you before the start of the project.

 

5. What is the standard turnaround time for deliverables?

Our standard turnaround time for results is 10 business days and 15 business days for an EDD and/or Level IV Validation Package. Our rush turnaround time surcharges are:

5 Business Days – 25%
3 Business Days – 50%
2 Business Days – 75%
1 Business Day – 100%
Same Day – 200%

Please contact your client service representative to schedule if a rush turnaround time is required.

 

6. What is my sample hold time? Is there any preservation needed?

The sample hold time will vary depending on your sample media and analytical method.

Method

Media

Hold Time

TO-15

Summa Canister

30 days

TO-15

Tedlar Bag

3 days

TO-3

Summa Canister

30 days

TO-3

Tedlar Bag

3 days

TO-12

Summa Canister

30 days

TO-12

Tedlar Bag

3 days

ASTM D-1945/1946

Summa Canister

30 days

ASTM D-1945/1946

Tedlar Bag

3 days

ASTM D-5504

Tedlar Bag

24 hours

EPA Method 25C/3C

Summa Canister

30 days

TO-4

PUF Cartridge

7 days

TO-10A

PUF Cartridge

7 days

TO-13A

PUF/XAD Cartridge

7 days

TO-17

Carbotrap 300

30 days

VOST 0030/0031

Tenax/Carbon/Anasorb

14 days

TO-11A

Sep-Pak Cartridge

30 days

TO-5

DNPH Liquid

5 days

CARB 430

DNPH Liquid

Prep to sampling-48 hours

Sampling to analysis-7 days

Method 0011

DNPH Liquid

Prep to sampling-5 days

Sampling to analysis-5 days

RSK-175

VOA Vial

7 days (unpreserved)
14 days (preserved)

Siloxanes (@71)

Methanol Vial

21 days

 

7. How do I ship my Summa Canisters back to Eurofins Air Toxics, Inc.?

Samples may be shipped back to AT in the same boxes that we ship them to you in. However, there are some instances if the samples contain high levels of methane or flammable gasses that the samples will need to be shipped back as hazardous. In this instance please contact your shipping company and/or the Department of Transportation (800-467-4922) for instructions on how to safely ship your sample.

 

8. How long can I keep my canister before sampling?

Because Summa canisters are re-usable media we would ask that you keep them no longer than 15 days in the field. Should you need to reschedule your project please contact your client service representative to schedule a new delivery of media.

 

9. How do I fill out my COC?

Example COC

 

10. Does AT require any field QC for canister samples?

AT does not require you to collect field QC samples; however we can provide the necessary equipment to collect a variety of QC samples that y our project may require. Link to sampling guide for more information.

 

11. How much lead time does AT need to prepare media?

AT prefers at least one week notice for media preparation. For large orders of certified canisters two or more weeks may be necessary. We do understand that this much lead time isn’t always possible, and do our best to accommodate every order.

 

12. Does AT provide project specific EDD’s?

Yes, AT provides a variety of commonly requested EDDs such as ERPIMs and GIS KEY. Be sure to mention the EDD you will need when you ask for a quote or order canisters.

 

13. Will AT analyze for diesel on a canister or tedlar bag sample?

No, the majority of Diesel range hydrocarbons are too heavy to be recovered from a whole air sample. AT analyzes diesel samples by NIOSH Method 1550 which utilizes a charcoal tube for collection.

 

14. Does AT calibrate its field gauges?

No. AT gauges are provided to measure the initial vacuum of the canister before sampling and the final vacuum upon completion. Gauges are used only to provide a relative measure of “change”. Clients who need very accurate vacuum readings are encouraged to purchase and maintain their own gauge.

 

15. Does AT send hardcopy results?

AT is striving to eliminate paper use whenever possible. Final reports and Validation Packages will be provided electronically unless hardcopies are requested.

 

16. I requested two analyses but have only received one report, where is the rest of my data ?

AT generates separate reports for each requested analysis. Reports are sent out as they are completed, and may not arrive on the same day.

 

17. When are invoices sent?

Invoices are sent out after the final report has been emailed.

 

18. I have received my final report and need to make a change, what do I do?

Call your Client Service Representative to find out if the change you need will be possible. Reissued reports generally take 1 week to complete, and will cost $65 per hour for the time it takes the analyst to complete.