Determination of acrolein in ambient air and in the atmosphere of environmental test chambers†
Acrolein (2-propenal) is a reactive substance undergoing multiple reaction pathways and an airborne pollutant with known corrosive, toxic and hazardous effects to the environment and to human health. So far, investigating the occurrence of acrolein in indoor air has been challenging due to analytical limitations. The classic DNPH-method has proven to be error-prone, even though it is still recommended in specific testing protocols. Thus, different approaches for an accurate determination of ambient acrolein have been introduced. In this work, an overview of already published data regarding emission sources and air concentrations is provided. In addition, a new method for the quantitative determination of acrolein in environmental test chambers and in indoor air is presented. Analysis is carried out using thermal desorption and coupled gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (TD-GC/MS) after sampling on the graphitized carbon black (GCB) Carbograph™ 5TD. All analytical steps have been carefully validated and compared with derivatization techniques (DNPH and DNSH) as well as online detection using PTR-QMS. The sampling time is short due to the low air collection volume of 4 L. Although derivatization is not applied, a detection limit of 0.1 μg m−3 can be achieved. By increasing the sampling volume to 6 L, the limit of detection can be lowered to 0.08 μg m−3. No breakthrough during sampling or analyte loss during storage of the acrolein laden sampling tubes was found. Therefore, the presented method is robust, easy-to-handle and also very suitable for routine analyses and surveys.