Environmental Testing by GC-MS: Air Monitoring, Water Quality, Soil Contamination and yes, our Food Chain.

Environmental Testing

Environmental Testing
Image by annca from Pixabay

Why bother with environmental testing?

Our environment affects everything that we do. We breathe air, play in the dirt, drink water. Not only that, we swim in water, irrigate our crops, gardens, wash our clothes and cars too! Our pets will drink from ponds, lakes and puddles…. While children play in mud, or run on grass, climb trees, jump from rocks, they are exposed to all sorts of contamination. So are the adults! Have you never walked in a street and see puddles left after a rain, watched the strange colour patterns emerging as the light plays on these puddles? That is petrochemical pollution, maybe from oil spills, maybe from a leaking car, maybe just from a transformer or power cable.

Our activities tend to concentrate pollution into the areas where we have the most interactions and in so doing, affect us where we spend most of our time. The simple act of lighting a fire in a house will leave pollutants in this house. Carcinogenic chemicals will stain the various walls, ceilings, furniture, only to be released slowly over time as we come into contact with these surfaces.

We spend all of our time interacting with the environment, have you ever heard of sick building syndrome? Another great example, where the very desks, chairs and tables or even the paint on the walls can make us feel sick and less effective.

Our environment will kill us slowly, over decades as the chemicals we placed there will come back to us in small doses which add up over our lifetimes.

We need to test our environment because not only do we care, but we owe it to ourselves.


Why test by GC-MS?

Most risks in our environment are too small for us to notice. Sure, we can see a car careening down a street towards us or a wave building up in the horizon, but these are random, single events. We can see where the environment is degraded, for example where landfills occur and we can avoid these areas, but what about the silent killers? The stuff too small to be seen by the naked eye and which can kill you slowly over time as you build up your exposure to these killers? That which cannot be seen directly has to be tested by extremely sensitive techniques and with the modern world, our exposure to carbon-based toxins, carcinogens, teratogens, pollutants (and so on) increases every year.

GC-MS allows us to test for these chemicals down to the part-per-billion, or even part-per-trillion level. This technique, when used properly, allows us to test for known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns in our environment.

However, sometimes GC-MS is not enough and GCxGC-MS is required. This enhances our ability to see non-target analytes and therefore change our legislation before these pollutants reach a dangerous level.

Air Pollution – the silent killer

Air Pollution - do you want to breathe this?

Air pollution – do you want to breathe this?
Image by Ralf Vetterle from Pixabay

Water Pollution

Water Testing

Water Testing
Photo by Samad Deldar from Pexels

Water is essential for life. We cannot survive for more than 3 days without it. It is clear, transparent, cool, fresh. Water and oil do not mix, which is why it is often assumed that water is safe to drink. Yet, water can be a deadly killer, trapping pollutants and carrying these miles away to a new region.

If you walk along a stream or river and see many waste pipes going into it, you think twice about swimming, A short distance downstream and most of the evidence has disappeared, giving the false impression that it is safe to play in this water. Predators are easy to spot. A crocodile after all is quite big. But a tiny chemical released by a factory upstream will kill you just as easily.

Soil Contamination

Soil Contamination

Soil Contamination
Photo by Singkham from Pexels

Application Notes

  Air Analysis Office Cabinet GC-TOFMS
  Brominated Flame Retardants GCxGC-TOFMS
  Calibration Curve Linearity for DDT GCxGC-TOFMS
  EPA Acceptance of Ion Abundance Criteria for DFTPP Tunic (ATP Letter)
  EPA 8270D
  GCxGC-TOFMS Screening for POP’s in Environmental Waste   
  Multiresidue pesticide analysis using GCxGC-TOFMS   
  Multiresidue pesticide analysis using GC-TOFMS   
  PAH Application Note Rt-PAH column phase   
  PBDEs Analysis by GC-TOFMS   
  PCBs – New Retention Index System GC-TOFMS
  PCDD and PCDF Analysis by GCxGC-TOFMS   
  Pesticides – SVOC, PCB in Crude Soil GC-TOFMS
  Polybrominated Biphenyl Congeners GCxGC-TOFMS
  Polybrominated Biphenyl GCxGC-TOFMS
  Polybrominated Biphenyl – Classifications GCxGC-TOFMS
  Polybrominated Diphenyl Esters GCxGC-TOFMS
  Quantification of Dioxin-Like Polychlorinated Biphenyls GCxGC-ECD


Application Snapshots

  Air Analysis Classifications GCxGC-TOFMS
  Arochlor 1260 GC-TOFMS TruTOF
  Boat Cabin Air SBSE GCxGC-TOFMS
  Brom Flame Retardants GC-TOFMS
  Brom Flame Retardants GC-TOFMS TruTOF
  Brom Flame Retardants GCxGC-TOFMS
  Brom Flame Retardants Quantitation GC-TOFMS TruTOF
  Chlorinated Pecticides GCxGC-ECD
  Cigarette Smoke SPME – GCxGC-TOFMS
  Ethoprop in Orange GC-TOFMS
  Fish Tissues GCxGC-TOFMS
  Furocoumarines LC-TOFMS
  OC-OP Pesticides GC-TOFMS TruTOF
  Omethoate in Baby Food GC-TOFMS
  Pesticides GC-TOFMS Deconvolution
  Pesticides in Citrus Oils GCxGC-TOFMS Scripts
  Pesticides in Edible Oils GCxGC-TOFMS
  Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables GC-TOFMS
  Pesticides in Green Tea SBSE GCxGC-TOFMS
  Volatiles in New Auto Interior by HS-SPME GC-TOFMS TruTOF


Articles and Reference

  Automated Screening for Hazardous Components in Complex Mixtures Based on Fundimental Characteristics Identifiable in GCxGC-TOFMS Data
  Trace Level Organochlorine and Organophoshorus Pesticides Analysis by SBSE – GCxGC-TOFMS and SBSE – GC-TOFMS