Ozone precursor analysis using a thermal desorption-GC System

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Courtesy of PerkinElmer, Inc.

In the United States, the Clean Air Act of 1970 gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responsibility for maintaining clean air for health and welfare. Six parameters are measured routinely in ambient air: SOx, NOx, PM10 (particulate matter less than 10 microns), Pb, CO and ozone. In the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, Title 1 expanded the measurements in air to include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. These parameters are measured in urban areas that do not meet the attainment goals for ozone, as shown in Figure 1. These measurements are implemented through a program known as Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS).

This program has been in place in the U.S. for a number of years, and in 2008 the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ground-Level Ozone was reduced to 0.075 ppm for an 8-hour period.1 The U.S. EPA predicts that a large number of counties will violate the 2008 standard2 (Figure 1). Similar recommendations have also been made in Europe. Following the 1992 Ozone Directive and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s protocol on controlling VOC emissions, a European ozone precursor priority list was established by Kotzias et al.3 and subsequently modified by the EC 2002/3/CE directive.

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