Environmental Policy

Calibration and evaluation of PUF-PAS sampling rates across the Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (GAPS) network

Herkert, N.J.; Spak,  N.; Smith, A.; Schuster, J.K.; Harner, T.; Martinez, A.; Hornbuckle, K.C.


Passive air samplers equipped with polyurethane foam (PUF-PAS) are frequently used to measure persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in ambient air. Here we present and evaluate a method to determine sampling rates (RS), and the effective sampling volume (Veff), for gas-phase chemical compounds captured by a PUF-PAS sampler deployed anywhere in the world. The method uses a mathematical model that requires only publicly available hourly meteorological data, physical–chemical properties of the target compound, and the deployment dates. The predicted RS is calibrated from sampling rates determined from 5 depuration compounds (13C PCB-9, 13C PCB-15, 13C PCB-32, PCB-30, and d6-γ-HCH) injected in 82 samples from 24 sites deployed by the Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (GAPS) network around the world. The dimensionless fitting parameter, gamma, was found to be constant at 0.267 when implementing the Integrated Surface Database (ISD) weather observations and 0.315 using the Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) weather dataset. The model provided acceptable agreement between modelled and depuration determined sampling rates, with 13C PCB-9, 13C PCB-32, and d6-γ-HCH having mean percent bias near zero (±6%) for both weather datasets (ISD and MERRA). The model provides inexpensive and reliable PUF-PAS gas-phase RS and Veff when depuration compounds produce unusual or suspect results and for sites where the use of depuration compounds is impractical, such as sites experiencing low average wind speeds, very cold temperatures, or remote locations.


Herkert, Nicholas J,  N. Spak, Austen Smith, Jasmin K Schuster, Tom Harner, Andres Martinez, and Keri C Hornbuckle. 2018. Calibration And Evaluation Of Puf-Pas Sampling Rates Across The Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (Gaps) Network 2049444950441473217168503942764340461174144601639444813875381121563667454914757392241444546114441587043421594442 (128913121012222316472232392417243193101561422417647199172142). Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts: 210 - 219. doi:10.1039/C7EM00360A.