Use of reference chemicals to determine passive uptake rates of common indoor air VOCs by collocation deployment of active and passive samplers
Passive samplers have become more popular in their application in the measurement of airborne chemicals. For volatile organic compounds, the rate of a chemical's diffusivity is a determining factor in the quantity of the chemical being collected for a given passive sampler. While uptake rate of a chemical in the passive sampler can be determined either by collocation deployment of both active and passive samplers or use of controlled facilities such as environmental chambers, a new approach without a need for accurate active flow rate in the collocation experiment was demonstrated in this study. This approach uses chemicals of known uptake rates as references to calculate the actual flow rate of the active sampling in the collocation experiment. The active sampling rate in turn can be used in the determination of the uptake rates of all other chemicals present in the passive samplers. The advantage of such approach is the elimination of the errors in actual active sampling rate associated with low flow employed in the collocation experiment. Using this approach, passive uptake rates of more than 80 volatile organic compounds commonly present in indoor air were determined. These experimentally determined uptake rates correlate well with air diffusivity of the chemicals, indicating the regression equation describing such correlation might be useful in predicting the uptake rates of other volatile organic chemicals in indoor air based on their air diffusivity.