Measuring environmental exposure to chemicals
Passive sampling devices (PSDs) mimic the way organic chemicals are absorbed into the body and enable researchers and stakeholders to conduct time-integrated evaluation of chemicals in the environment. In our Center, these devices have been used throughout the US to evaluate chemical contaminants in the environment near Superfund sites. Passive sampling devices can be used to evaluate environmental chemicals as well as personal exposure. Current methods in the Anderson Lab enable evaluation of over 1,530 semi-volatile and volatile organic chemicals.
Passive samplers have been used by our researchers and our stakeholders. The low cost and ease of use lead to high rates of participant compliance and thereby substantially increase the value of the collected data. The methods the laboratory has developed are helping site managers to assess the relative contributions of Superfund sites and other sources to people's external exposures, and to identify nearby locations where people experience the highest external exposures to PAHs and may therefore experience the greatest risk.
PSDs can be used in a variety of configurations. The Anderson research team invented the use of passive sampling wristbands as the first low-cost approach to measure external exposure to PAHs for people near a Superfund site. The personal samplers are also available as military-style dog tags. The low cost and ease of use have led to high rates of participant compliance and robust data. These samplers provide information on what a single individual is exposed to over time.
Additional configurations for environmental samplers allow evaluation of chemicals found in the air, water and sediment.