• Air Monitoring for Health and Climate Issues

Air Monitoring

Air Monitoring for Health and Climate Issues

Nov 13 2009

Air pollution is a serious global problem. Some pollutants such as dust, pollen and soil particles occur naturally but most air pollution is caused by human activity, sources include industry, traffic and domestic heating. Many people suffer from illnesses caused by air pollution such as heart problems, asthma and lung cancer.

The effects of air pollution are carefully monitored. Once a pollutant is released into the air it is impossible to control as wind speeds can transport it anywhere in the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, is a scientific intergovernmental body tasked to evaluate the risk of climate change caused by human activity.

Air pollution controls are in force. The UK along with other member states must meet a European directive on standards in air quality and limiting harmful airborne particles. Failure to meet this directive will result in court action.

The Particle-Into-Liquid-Sampler (PILS) available from Metrohm (Switzerland) can measure particulate pollutants several times an hour and when used in combination with a Metrohm Ion Chromatography system, inorganic ions such as Ammonium, Nitrate, Sulfate and Chloride can be detected and quantified with a cycle time between five and twenty minutes depending upon application.

The PILS system uses small quantities of steam to form water droplets on individual aerosol particles. The water droplets containing the dissolved aerosols can then be captured and analysed by ion chromatography.
The instrument can be operated unattended for up to twenty days depending upon the volume of reagents and size of denuder and can take samples every five minutes.

The current method used for analyzing airborne particulates is filter sampling. The filters collect the aerosol particles usually over a twenty four hour period and the results are reported as daily averages. The PILS system from Metrohm UK is an effective way of producing real-time measurements for assessing air quality. High time resolution means more information can be gathered and trends and cycles can be observed.

Applications where the PILS system can be used include Indoor Air Quality Monitoring, Ambient Air Quality Monitoring, Tunnel Monitoring, Waste Transfer and Landfill Site Monitoring, Stack emissions Monitoring and Emission Protection for employees.

Metrohm UK offers a direct online on site analysis using well established techniques and no manual sample preparation is needed. In combination with an Ion Chromatograph it is possible to determine the following species: Cations (Na+, NH4+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+), Anions (Cl-, NO3-, NO2-, SO42-), Organic Acids (acetate, formate, oxalate) and LOD: depending on ion ~ 5-100 ng/m3 (250 mL loop).

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