Suddenly occurring and time limited chemical exposures caused by unintended incidents might pose a threat to many workers at various work sites. Monitoring of exposure during such occasional incidents is challenging. In this study a compact, low-weight and personal semi-automatic pumped unit for sampling of organic vapor phase compounds from occupational air during sporadic and suddenly occurring incidents has been developed, providing simple activation by the worker potentially subjected to the sudden occurring exposures when a trained occupational hygienist is not available. The sampler encompasses a tube (glass or stainless steel) containing an adsorbent material in combination with a small membrane pump, where the adsorbent is capped at both ends by gas tight solenoid valves. The sampler is operated by a conventional 9 V battery which tolerates long storage time (at least one year), and is activated by pulling a pin followed by automatic operation and subsequent closing of valves, prior to shipping to a laboratory. The adjustable sampling air flow rate and the sampling time are pre-programmed with a standard setting of 200 mL min−1 and 30 min, respectively. The average airflow in the time interval 25–30 min compared to average airflow in the interval 2–7 min was 92–95% (n = 6), while the flow rate between-assay precisions (RSD) for six different samplers on three days each were in the range 0.5–3.7%. Incident sampler recoveries of VOCs from a generated VOC atmosphere relative to a validated standard method were between 95 and 102% (±4–5%). The valves that seal the sampler adsorbent during storage have been shown to prevent an external VOC atmosphere (500 mg m−3) to enter the adsorbent tube, in addition to that the sampler adsorbent is storable for at least one month due to absence of ingress of contaminants from internal parts. The sampler was also suitable for trapping of semi-volatile organophosphates.
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