Whole air sampling is typically done with canisters or Tedlar bags to take a "snapshot" of an entire air sample and test for chemicals that may be present. Grab sampling is a form of whole air sampling. Whole air samplers test for gases and are often used to sample volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
What is whole air sampling?
- Whole air samplers measure gas phase chemicals
- Whole air samplers typically test for 40-100 different chemicals
- Whole air samples are often used as a diagnostic tool to narrow down what you are looking for
How is whole air sampling different from sorbent tube sampling?
When would you need a whole air sample?
- Identifying an unknown smell: You smell something noxious and want to do a test
- Risk assessment and hazard mitigation: You're concerned there's something bad in the air
- Narrowing the scope: You're not sure what you're looking for and want to test for a wide range
- Ambient air monitoring: You want to take a baseline air sample for a given area
References and further reading
Eurofins Guide to Air Sampling: Canisters and Bags (2014). Website. Retrieved from https://www.eurofinsus.com/media/161448/guide-to-air-sampling-analysis-2014-06-27_revised-logos.pdf. SKC Ltd Step by Step Guide: An Introduction to Air Sampling (2019). Website. Retrieved from https://www.skcltd.com/images/pdfs/224-G1.pdf. Restek Technical Guide: A Guide to Whole Air Canister Sampling (2010). Website. Retrieved from https://www.restek.com/pdfs/EVTG1073A.pdf
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Image credit USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency