What’s New with EPA Method 23?

It’s crucial to monitor our air, water, and soil for pollutants but doing so accurately is challenging. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed an improved method for sampling and analyzing a range of harmful chemicals such as:

  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins
  • Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/F, also known as dioxins and furans)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

The EPA’s method is performance-based, which means it allows laboratories to modify the method as long as they meet certain criteria. This setup frees labs to keep up with advancements in technology and continuously improve their testing processes. As a result, the method produces reliable and accurate data that meets regulatory requirements. Here’s a quick look at two of the method’s most essential features.

Isotopically labeled standards

The EPA’s method uses isotopically labeled standards, particularly for PCDD/Fs, to significantly improve the reliability of its data compared to the previous version. These labeled standards ensure that any detected pollutants are identified accurately and provide the best possible accuracy and precision in the measurement process. The method also includes “Filter Standards” that track the efficiency of filter extraction during the overall sample extraction process. This way, pollutants are fully captured and measured in the sample.

Reduced possibility of contamination

To minimize the possibility of contamination during sampling, the EPA has:

  • Removed highly toxic chemicals from the method’s sampling process
  • Specified appropriate materials and equipment for use (gloves, containers, etc.)

An invaluable tool for sampling and analyzing pollutants

Numerous studies and regulatory programs have relied on the EPA’s method for its accuracy and safety measures. With it, labs can keep their testing processes up to date and produce the reliable data necessary for protecting human health and the environment.

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Bryan Vining

Laboratory Director

Dr. Bryan Vining is the laboratory director for Enthalpy Analytical Ultratrace in Wilmington, NC. Bryan is a 23-year veteran of the laboratory industry. He started his career as a product specialist and later worked in various lab roles before joining Enthalpy Analytical, LLC in 2016. Bryan has deep experience in the application of isotope dilution technology to the measurement of persistent organic pollutants, such as PFAS, at very low (ultratrace) levels in the environment. He has contributed to the revision of multiple EPA methods that use isotope dilution technology. Bryan graduated with a B.A. in Chemistry from Huntingdon College, before proceeding to get a Ph.D. from Florida State University and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.