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Polyethylene devices: passive samplers for measuring dissolved hydrophobic organic compounds in aquatic environments
Adams, R.G.; Lohmann, R.; Fernandez, L.A.; MacFarlane, J.K.; Gschwend, P.M. (2007). Polyethylene devices: passive samplers for measuring dissolved hydrophobic organic compounds in aquatic environments. Environ. Sci. Technol. 41(4): 1317-1323.
In: Environmental Science and Technology. American Chemical Society: Easton, Pa.. ISSN 0013-936X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Adams, R.G.
  • Lohmann, R.
  • Fernandez, L.A., editor
  • MacFarlane, J.K.
  • Gschwend, P.M.

    We demonstrate the use of polyethylene devices (PEDs) for assessing hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) in aquatic environments. Like semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) and solid-phase microextraction (SPME), PEDs passively accumulate HOCs in proportion to their freely dissolved concentrations. Polyethylene-water partition constants (KPEWs) were measured in the laboratory for eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), five polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and one polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin (PCDD), and these were found to correlate with octanol-water partition constants (KOWs; log KPEW = 1.13 log KOW - 0.86, R2 = 0.89). Temperature and salinity dependencies of KPEW values for the HOCs tested were well predicted with excess enthalpies of solution in water and Setschenow constants, respectively. We also showed that standards, impregnated in the PED before deployment, can be used to correct for incomplete equilibrations. Using PEDs, we measured phenanthrene and pyrene at ng/L concentrations and 2,2‘,5,5‘-tetrachlorobiphenyl at pg/L concentrations in Boston Harbor seawater, consistent with our findings using traditional procedures. PEDs are cheap and robust samplers, competent to accomplish in situ, time-averaged passive sampling with fast equilibration times (days) and simplified laboratory analyses.

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