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Effects of Covered Solid Sorbent Tube Sample Holders on Organic Vapor Measurements
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Occup Environ Hyg
  • Description:
    A study was conducted to examine whether there are significant differences between organic vapor concentrations measured using charcoal tubes with three different configurations: uncovered sample holder (open tube), SKC, and Buck brand covered sample holders. A fractional factorial experimental design was used with the following factors and levels: vapor (n-hexane vs. m-xylene), pump type (pulsating vs. continuous), exposure profile (variable vs. constant), flow rate (30 mL/min vs. 200 mL/min), duration (30 min vs. 80 min), and sample placement (mannequin vs. free hanging). Two of each sampler configuration (six total) were placed in an exposure chamber, and a dynamic test-atmosphere generation system was used to prepare atmospheres containing approximately 12-15 ppm n-hexane or m-xylene with exposure profiles and sampling conducted according to a run sheet generated for the experimental design. A total of 24 runs were completed with six samplers per run, yielding 144 samples that were analyzed by gas chromatography/flame ionization detector. Concentration results for each pair of SKC and Buck covered sample holders were averaged and normalized by dividing by the average result for the open tube sampler from the same run to eliminate the effect of daily variation in chamber concentrations. The resulting ratio of covered sample tube holder and open tube concentrations was used as the response variable. Results of analysis of variance using the general linear model (MINITAB 16) identified statistically significant main effects and/or interactions for pump type, exposure profile, flow rate, and sample holder. However, the magnitude of the effects was generally less than 10%, and overall mean concentration ratios were 0.989 and 1.02 for the Buck and SKC sample holders, respectively. These results show good agreement between covered sample holder results and open tube measurements and demonstrate that exposure assessment errors resulting from the use of covered sorbent tube sample holders for organic vapor monitoring are relatively small (<10%) and not likely to be of practical importance.
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