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Evaluation of passive samplers for the monitoring of contaminants in sediment and water

Monitoring of POPs and PCBs in international monitoring programmes

image of Evaluation of passive samplers for the monitoring of contaminants in sediment and water

Passive samplers spiked with performance reference compounds (PRC) were prepared in Holland, and deployed at 9 sites in the Nordic countries and Greenland. Mussels were collected at the same sites to compare passive sampler results with the mussel-watch approach usually applied in national monitoring. Sediments were sampled from 6 sites, and analysed both by total methods and passive samplers for pore water concentration. From the spiked PRCs, sampling rates was calculated, and used to determine water phase concentration of PAHs and other organic compounds with a high octanol-water partitioning coefficient. The project has shown that silicone passive samplers can be used for monitoring programmes, and development of guidelines and quality assurance of analysis are underway. Within the next 2-3 years it could become part of the monitoring strategy of OSPAR, EU and the Nordic Countries.

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Passive samplers – theory and practice

Passive samplers are usually deployed to assess the time-weighted average (TWA) concentration of organic substances or metals in the water phase. A wide range of samplers are available, and are often specific to a given range of substances, usually governed by their hydrophobicity (Kow). The types of substances and range of Kow are listed below. The list is not exhaustive, but covers the samplers used in the Nordic countries so far, or rated as having a high usability in the review articles.

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