Improvements in pollutant monitoring: optimizing silicone for co-deployment with polyethylene passive sampling devices

Environ Pollut. 2014 Oct:193:71-78. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.06.019. Epub 2014 Jul 7.


Sequestering semi-polar compounds can be difficult with low-density polyethylene (LDPE), but those pollutants may be more efficiently absorbed using silicone. In this work, optimized methods for cleaning, infusing reference standards, and polymer extraction are reported along with field comparisons of several silicone materials for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and pesticides. In a final field demonstration, the most optimal silicone material is coupled with LDPE in a large-scale study to examine PAHs in addition to oxygenated-PAHs (OPAHs) at a Superfund site. OPAHs exemplify a sensitive range of chemical properties to compare polymers (log Kow 0.2-5.3), and transformation products of commonly studied parent PAHs. On average, while polymer concentrations differed nearly 7-fold, water-calculated values were more similar (about 3.5-fold or less) for both PAHs (17) and OPAHs (7). Individual water concentrations of OPAHs differed dramatically between silicone and LDPE, highlighting the advantages of choosing appropriate polymers and optimized methods for pollutant monitoring.

Keywords: OPAHs; Oxygenated-PAHs; PAHs; Passive sampling; Pesticides; Polyethylene; Silicone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Polyethylene / chemistry*
  • Silicones / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Silicones
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Polyethylene