Forensic collection of trace chemicals from diverse surfaces with strippable coatings
Surface sampling for chemical analysis plays a vital role in environmental monitoring, industrial hygiene, homeland security and forensics. The standard surface sampling tool, a simple cotton gauze pad, is failing to meet the needs of the community as analytical techniques become more sensitive and the variety of analytes increases. In previous work, we demonstrated the efficacy of non-destructive, conformal, spray-on strippable coatings for chemical collection from simple glass surfaces. Here we expand that work by presenting chemical collection at a low spiking level (0.1 g m−2) from a diverse array of common surfaces – painted metal, engineering plastics, painted wallboard and concrete – using strippable coatings. The collection efficiency of the strippable coatings is compared to and far exceeds gauze pads. Collection from concrete, a particular challenge for wipes like gauze, averaged 73% over eight chemically diverse compounds for the strippable coatings whereas gauze averaged 10%.