PDC 505: Exposure Monitoring of VOCs Utilizing Thermal Desorption Tubes

Dr Nicola Watson, Ph.D. Lead Instructor
Markes International
Gold River, CA 
United States of America
Sun, 5/31: 8:00 AM  - 12:00 PM 
Professional Development Course 
Georgia World Congress Center - Building B 
Room: B216 
CM Credit Hours: 3.5 


Many techniques are available for the sampling and measurement of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in air. Can we apply these techniques to improve or simplify the collection of vapor phase VOCs for Industrial Hygiene monitoring? Sampling using charcoal tubes followed by solvent extraction is the most widely used technique for monitoring VOCs in the breathing zone of personnel. However, the extraction solvent used is often more hazardous than the compounds, thus perpetuating a risk to the analysts performing the analysis and increasing laboratory solvent waste. The use of thermal desorption sorbent tubes is a greener, less hazardous option because they are versatile, require no extraction solvent, and can be reused multiple times. Depending on the sampling situation, various techniques can be used to retain VOCs on the media (e.g., diffusive/passive and pumped/active (NIOSH 2549) sampling). Personal sampling canisters can also provide a greener approach because they are multiuse, do not require solvent extraction, and can measure many compounds of differing volatility. This course will cover the various options available for sampling VOCs in a range of situations and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. Canister sampling will not be covered, but rather the correct use of thermal desorption techniques with tips and tricks for successful measurement.

*Please note: Only participants registering for two (2) half-day PDCs on the same day will receive a box lunch.

**Please note: power strips will not be provided at each attendee's seat; however, charging stations for laptops will be provided in each course room.

Course Outline

• Sampling Strategies, Sampler Placement, Sampling Times and Concentrations
• Practical Hands-on Practice with Sampling Pumps, Calibration and Use
• Calculation of Diffusive Uptake Rates with Current Experimental Techniques
• Environmental Conditions to Account for when Passively Sampling
• Sorbent Selection and Combination for Successful Monitoring
• Analytical Method Development for Laboratories Running Samples 

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion, the participant will be able to:

• Decide which sampling technique(s) will be useful for VOCs measurement.
• Calculate uptake rates for compound/sorbent pairs that do not have published data.
• Design a sorbent tube capable of capturing the VOCs for a given measurement technique. 

Value Added

Attendees will receive sorbent selection guide and published uptake rates for passive sampling. 

Course Level


Learning Aids

Scientific Calculator

Learning Level(s)



Sampling and Analysis

Transfer of Knowledge

Group activities
Hands-on demonstrations and practicum