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Optimization of method for extracting 46 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from an activated carbon–silica gel active sampler to evaluate indoor work environments

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The Industrial Safety and Health Act in Japan has established guideline values for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor workplace air; however, because the physicochemical properties of these VOCs are diverse, appropriate analytical methods have not yet been developed. Here we performed recovery tests to simultaneously measure VOCs and to optimize the analytical parameters (the extraction solvents and their mixture ratio) of a commercial activated carbon–silica gel active sampler. In the recovery tests, 46 VOCs were added to the adsorbents of the sampler (activated carbon and silica gel) at three concentration levels relative to the guideline values (0.5×, 1×, and 2×); we then extracted the VOCs from the absorbents by using various mixtures of acetone and carbon disulfide. The mixture comprising 80% acetone and 20% carbon disulfide was the best solvent overall for extracting the 46 tested VOCs from the adsorbents in the sampler; this mixture achieved adequate recovery rates (within the range of 80 to 120%) for 40 (87%) of the targeted VOCs.

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This study was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (JPMEERF18S11704) of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan.

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Qi Wang carried out the analysis. Qi Wang and Masahiro Tokumura wrote the manuscript. Yuichi Miyake reviewed and edited the manuscript. Takashi Amagai supervised the study.

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Correspondence to Yuichi Miyake or Takashi Amagai.

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Wang, Q., Tokumura, M., Miyake, Y. et al. Optimization of method for extracting 46 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from an activated carbon–silica gel active sampler to evaluate indoor work environments. Air Qual Atmos Health 14, 1341–1348 (2021).

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