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Volume 1, Pages 557-575
Review Article

Atmospheric Sampling of Persistent Organic Pollutants: Needs, Applications and Advances in Passive Air Sampling Techniques

Environmental Science Department, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ, UK

Copyright © 2001 Wendy A. Ockenden et al.


There are numerous potential applications for validated passive sampling techniques to measure persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the atmosphere, but such techniques are still in their infancy. Potential uses include: monitoring to check for regulatory compliance and identification of potential sources; cheap/efficient reconnaissance surveying of the spatial distribution of POPs; and deployment in studies to investigate environmental processes affecting POP cycling. This article reviews and discusses the principles and needs of passive sampling methodologies. The timescales required for analytical purposes and for the scientific objectives of the study are critical in the choice and design of a passive sampler. Some techniques may operate over the timescales of hours/days, others over weeks/months/years. We distinguish between approaches based on "kinetic uptake" and "equilibrium partitioning". We highlight potentially useful techniques and discuss their potential advantages, disadvantages, and research requirements, drawing attention to the urgent need for detailed studies of sampler performance and calibration.