Air Sampling

_This page collects resources, questions, and requests related to air sampling. Please edit the page to add information or resources._ ## Background Air sampling is a way to capture small amounts of air for laboratory testing. Most air sampling methods involve pulling [whole air samples]( into a bag or container through a vacuum system. The bag or container can then be sealed and shipped to a [lab for testing]( Air grab samples can be tested for over 100 different chemicals ([Louisiana Bucket Brigade]( ### Particle sensing Air sampling for particulate matter or dust pollution is another type of air sampling. See [information on particle sensing on this page](/particle-sensing). ### Types of air samples Air samples typically fall into one of five categories: [indoor air](, ambient air, stationary sources (for instance, a smokestack or factory), soil vapor, and mobile sources (traffic). Each type is regulated differently with different sampling methods depending on what you are looking for. **** ## Questions [questions:air-sampling] **** ## Activities [activities:air-sampling] **** ## Bucket Sampling The bucket monitor is a low-cost, community-friendly air sampler that helps people measure toxic chemicals such as benzene and hydrogen sulfide in their air. It is an EPA-approved grab sampling method that is significantly less expensive than many other air grab systems such as the [summa canister](/wiki/air-sampling#The+Summa+Canister) ([Louisiana Bucket Brigade]( **What it tests:** When paired with lab analysis, the bucket monitor can measure up to 101 air pollutants including dichloromethane, hydrogen sulfide, perchloroethylene, vinyl chloride, toluene, and benzene. The **[bucket monitor wiki page](** contains full instructions on how to build and use a bucket monitor, instructional videos and stories from community partners who have used the bucket to advocate for healthier air, plus a community Q&A. **Cost**: The bucket itself costs around $100 each but they are re-useable. The [lab testing]( costs between $200-$500 each depending on what you want to get tested. The system also needs to be calibrated twice a year which can cost up to $400. **Video on how to use the bucket from Hilton Kelley of [Community In Power and Development Association](** **Story of West Virginia Chemical Valley Bucket Brigade:** **More resources and groups who have experience with the Bucket:** - ["Fenceline" film and Bucket Brigade resources]( - [Louisiana Bucket Brigade]( - [Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League]( ### Other types of canisters for sampling #### The Summa Canister The Summa Canister is a commercially available sampling system. It can take grab samples intermittently, or over a period of time. The Summa Canisters are described in [EPA Method TO-15](, and are commonly used for the collection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in ambient and indoor air. **Community use case:** The [Citizens for a Healthy Community]( in Paonia, Colorado have used the summa canister for air grab sampling. Here is a publication they put together on [“How Oil & Gas Impacted Communities Can Test Air Quality On A Small Budget: A step-by-step guidebook based on the North Fork Valley Air Sampling Program” 2016]( #### Helium Diffusion Sampler Helium diffusion samplers are wearable devices that take samples to measure (VOCs) in ambient and indoor air. **Community use case:** In 2016, community members in Pavillon, Wyoming participated in a health and air sampling study. They had noticed an increase in health issues locally and were concerned about the pollution coming from the many nearby gas wells. In their exploration of VOCs, they used a FLIR gas camera, Minirea 3000 air monitoring device, an ambient air model, Aldehyde Badges, Summa Canisters and two wearable monitors: HDS (Helium Diffusion Sampler), and Sorbent Tubes. More information on their study, the results and about their community can be found in the "[When the Wind Blows](" ( permalink) publication by Elizabeth Crowe, Sharyle Patton, Deborah Thomas, and Beverley Thorpe. More information on this study and the groups involved can be found on the Coming Clean webpage here at #### More resources on canister sampling - [HDS sampler (and explanation of how they work)]( - [“A Guide to Whole Air Canister Sampling Equipment Needed and Practical Techniques for Collecting Air Samples”]( ...

Author Comment Last activity Moderation
warren "This looks v cool! Walkman style. I wonder how recoverable/measurable dust is from the tape when rolled up again. Would some kind of clock mechani..." | Read more » 15 days ago
natematias "Here's an in-progress prototype. " | Read more » 15 days ago
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SBucic "@bhamster Thank you very much. Incredibly helpful information! " | Read more » 7 months ago
bhamster "Hi @SBucic ! Another community group in the past monitored formaldehyde at natural gas compressor stations using an electronic meter. There's some ..." | Read more » 7 months ago
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sarasage "The second part of your question: -Do not conduct ambient air tests next to gas/propane tanks or you may get a false positive. -Do not test near ..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
sarasage "Plants, especially trees and fragrant species, as well as decaying plant matter, emit biogenic VOCs. Some species of eucalyptus are known to emit h..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
denissebn_06 " @denissebn_06 has marked @sarasage as a co-author. " | Read more » over 1 year ago
denissebn_06 " @denissebn_06 has marked @sarasage as a co-author. " | Read more » over 1 year ago
amocorro "@sarasage @denissebn_06 This information might be useful for you to review as you plan air monitoring and bucket monitor tool use; and translation..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
bhamster "EPA method TO-15 is a common method to test air grab samples for VOCs. There's a little more info about this method and other methods for detecting..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
amocorro "@kgradow1 any advice? Thanks! " | Read more » over 1 year ago
amocorro "You can ask property owners and/or your neighbors (better if you have relations with them) You can let community members know what you're looking ..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
amocorro "@sarasage - you have any thoughts on this? Thank you for sharing! " | Read more » over 1 year ago
denissebn_06 "@sarasage Yes, totally agree with you. Let´s document all the questions we can come up with AQ monitors, then I will write a research note about th..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
sarasage "@denissebn_06 I think it would be useful to write a post about AQ monitors' cost and operation on the VVAMP Page. We have a variety of monitors in ..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
sarasage "@denissebn_06 This is a great question. In my experience, all AQ monitors make noise. To operate, they have a fan and motor to move air through it..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
a1ahna "Great work Katie! Just wanted to add the PDF version of these build instructions. Here is a link to the document that the Public Lab Kits team in..." | Read more » almost 2 years ago
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