Air Monitoring Overview and Applications

Types of Air Sampling

Active Sampling

In active sampling, the air/gas sample is actively pumped or drawn into or through sampling media. Media can be filters and cassettes, or adsorbent tubes (including solvent desorption tubes and thermal desorption tubes). In addition to capturing analytes of interest from the air, the active sampling device must ensure minimal background interference, exhibit sufficient capacity or breakthrough volume for the intended application, and provide an acceptable pressure drop during sampling. The most comprehensive line of DNPH sampling products and the innovative ATIS adsorbent tube injector system complete the range of active sampling products.

Solvent desorption tube


Passive Sampling

Passive radial samplerPassive/diffusive sampling relies on the unassisted molecular diffusion of gaseous agents (analytes) through a diffusive surface onto an adsorbent. Unlike active sampling, passive samplers require no electricity (pumps), have no moving parts, are simple to use and offer results comparable to active samplers but without the added cost.


Whole Air Sampling

Tedlar bagA whole air sample is collected when the air is drawn into some sort of containment vessel such as a Tedlar® bag or “Summa” canister. The method of collection is easy and the compounds of interest are recovered directly from the vessel. Recovery is a function of several factors which include, the surface area of the vessel, the chemistry and vapor pressure of the contaminants, the influence of various matrix effects, and the ability to begin with a vessel free of contamination. Supelco offers Tedlar® Gas Sampling Bags and Bulbs to meet your whole air sampling needs.

Supelco Quality & Innovation

Supelco has more than 30 years expertise in adsorbent technology, which enables us to provide innovative solutions to meet a wide range of air monitoring needs for industrial hygiene, ambient air, and industrial source emissions applications.

Our sampling media are designed to meet sampling and analysis criteria according to NIOSH, OSHA, EPA, and ASTM methods. Our highly qualified technical staff is dedicated to your satisfaction, offering reliable products and customized solutions to meet your unique needs.


Air monitoring has various industry applications where the air quality is a concern or a health hazard. A few examples include vapor intrusion in residential/commercial settings, contamination resulting from petrochemical industry efforts and by-products, drywall from China, anesthetic gases in healthcare, and agricultural industry pollution.

Supelco and Sigma-Aldrich offer a range of active and passive air sampling products, in addition to various analytical chemistry tools (reference standards, reagents, solvents, GC columns, HPLC columns, sample preparation products) for the accurate and reliable determination of air-borne contamination. Below are links to chromatograms for a few typical air monitoring applications, as well as detailed supporting information on air sampling techniques and products for specific industries.

Air Sampling Product Guides for specific Industry Applications:


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