Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PNAs, also called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs) are environmental contaminants found in coal tar, and are common products of combustion of organic materials. There are various methods for determining PNAs in environmental samples, including HPLC (EPA Method 8310), GC (610, 8100), and GCMS (625, 8270). Each has advantages and disadvantages. HPLC is generally the most sensitive, but is subject to interferences and not as widely available as other techniques. GC is also subject to interferences and is not as sensitive, but is relatively inexpensive and a good screening tool. GCMS is also not as sensitive as HPLC, and is relatively expensive, but the MS gives positive identification. With the use of selected ion monitoring (SIM), the detection limits can be reduced by 5-10X, approaching those of HPLC. However, this is a specialized technique which few labs offer.
Which technique is best? In general, in samples expected to be relatively free of interferences, HPLC is the preferred technique. For samples with potential problems, such as those known to contain petroleum products, GCMS may be more suitable with fewer interferences. For unknown samples, GC can be used as a screening method to determine the appropriate course of action. WCAS performs all of these techniques, and we would be happy to talk to you about choosing the one best for your situation. For a quotation......
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Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
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Formerly West Coast Analytical Service (WCAS) and Bodycote Testing Group