EPA Method 8260C is used to determine volatile organic compounds in a variety of solid waste matrices. It is applicable for nearly all types of samples, including air sampling trapping media, ground and surface water, aqueous sludges, caustic liquors, acid liquors, waste solvents, oily wastes, mousses, tars, soil, sediments and more. The compounds can be introduced into gas chromatography-mass spectrometry systems with purge and trap being the most common technique.
A major component of any purge and trap system is the analytical trap, which is responsible for retaining the VOCs during the purge cycle and releasing them upon heating. The VOCs are then transferred to the GC/MS for separation and detection. Teledyne Tekmar completed a study that compares four traps commonly used for purge and trap analysis using an automated VOC sample prep system and USEPA Method 8260C.