On-site monitoring of occupational exposure to volatile organic compounds by a portable comprehensive 2-dimensional gas chromatography device†
A fully automated portable comprehensive 2-dimensional (2-D) gas chromatography (GC) device was utilized for the first time for the field analysis of occupational volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at the Spray and Finishing Shop of the University of Michigan. The instrument contains a full set of micro-preconcentrator/injectors, commercial columns, micro-Deans switches, micro-thermal injectors, micro-photoionization detectors, data acquisition cards, and power supplies, as well as computer control and user interface. The indoor air was sampled and analyzed before, during, and after spraying the five most frequently used paints. The 2-D analysis yields enhanced peak capacity and shortened analysis time as compared to those achieved by portable GC instruments reported to date. In addition, the portable system is able to perform on-site analysis of VOCs, providing the results every 5 to 15 min, which would allow for enhanced acquisition of information regarding workers' safety and health risks from airborne VOCs. The performance of the portable 2-D GC device was validated by comparing the quantitative results of various type of paints using traditional occupational VOCs monitoring techniques in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration Method ORG-07.