Quantitative Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds in Drinking Water by EPA Method with Headspace Trap GC-MS

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Courtesy of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Inc

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) refer to a group of easily vapourised organic compounds. Under atmospheric pressure, these compounds boil below 250C. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to the VOCs could increase the risk of various health problems, such as cancer. VOCs are commonly present in gasoline, dry cleaning solvents and degreasing agents. Due to improper storage, disposal or spillage of chemicals, these hazardous chemicals could contaminate the drinking water. In order to protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a standard method, namely EPA 524.3 to identify and quantify the purgeable organic compounds in finished drinking water by using purge-and-trap with GC-MS.

Headspace with trap mode could serve as an alternative option in analysing the purgeable VOCs. During incubation, VOCs from water samples are effectively partitioned into the headspace. Shimadzu HS-20 headspace sampler is ideal for extraction and concentration of VOCs from water samples.

This application news reports a robust analysis method of VOCs complying with the EPA 524.3 criteria based on dynamic headspace coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The combination of HS-20 headspace sampler and GCMS-QP2010 Ultra provides an alternative method of choice to extract purgeable organic compounds from drinking water followed by analysis of GC-MS.

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