American Industrial Hygiene Association journal

Development and validation of personal monitoring methods for low levels of acrylonitrile in workplace atmosphere: II. Thermal desorption and field validation.

PMID 3706141


Thermal desorption is a more sensitive alternative to solvent desorption for the determination of acrylonitrile in air. A dual-bed collection tube (Tenax GC and Carbosieve B) was developed for collecting and concentrating low levels of acrylonitrile. Two thermal desorption techniques were evaluated for the recovery of acrylonitrile collected on the dual-bed tubes over a concentration range from 0.05 to 5 ppm. A commercially-available system, the Century Programmable Thermal Desorption Unit, was easy to operate, allowed for multiple injections of the sample and had a recovery of 82 +/- 12% (RSD). Samples were stored for up to two months without affecting the recovery and there was not an observable effect from humidity or from the presence of other organic compounds. This system was found to have limitations at acrylonitrile concentrations above 1 ppm. A field validation study tested the sampling and analytical methods developed for monitoring low levels of acrylonitrile in the workplace. Three methods employing Pittsburgh Coconut-Base activated charcoal, Ambersorb XE-348 and Tenax-GC and Carbosieve B sampling mediums were validated for concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 5 ppm and confirmed in the field from 0.02 to 3 ppm in tests conducted at plant sites. These field studies were run over varying humidity and temperature conditions. The overall absolute recoveries and relative standard deviations found for these methods found during the field trials are 90 +/- 18% for charcoal; 85 +/- 11% for Ambersorb XE-348; and 90 +/- 19% for the Century dual-bed sorbent. These values were in quite good agreement with the 91 +/- 10%, 88 +/- 8%, and 82 +/- 12% determined in laboratory studies.