Environmental Monitoring FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions – Environmental Air Monitoring

How long should I sample the diffusion tubes for?

  • Inorganics – these tubes should be exposed for 2-4 weeks. If you need a faster sampling time, have you tried our New Rapid Air Monitors?
  • VOCs – these tubes can be exposed for 1-4 weeks for passive exposure. Alternatively these tubes can be pumped for periods from a few minutes to a few hours.

How high off the ground should I place the tubes for outdoor monitoring?

Ideally, samplers would be placed at breathing height, but in order to reduce loss of tubes due to theft, tubes may be placed at a height of 2-4m. Concentrations of pollutants may decrease with distance from the source so tubes placed too high may underestimate the actual concentrations to which the public are exposed.

Where should I return my samples for analysis?

Please ensure that your exposure sheet is correctly filled in. Samples should be returned to Ormantine USA, Ltd. Inc., Corporate Headquarters, 1740 Convair Street  Palm Bay, FL 32909 United States.

What is TEA?

TEA is the absorbent used in Nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes. TEA stands for Triethanolamine and may be combined with water or acetone to form the absorbent.

Do the DC1100 or DC1700 Air Particle Monitors identify the particles?

No. They are particle counters, designed to count particles over two given calibration sizes. This low cost instrument gives an indication of particulate pollution levels but is not suitable to identify individual particles.

Can I measure several compounds simultaneously on an Acid gases tube?

Yes, all 6 acid gases which can be detected by this tube can be analysed at the same time, or you may choose to select only the gases of interest. Acid gas options are Hydrogen fluoride, Hydrogen chloride, Hydrogen bromide, Phosphoric acid and Sulfuric acid.

Why do I sometimes need more than one VOC tube to meet my needs?

Although VOC tubes are designed to measure many compounds simultaneously, sometimes several tubes are required. This is mainly due to two reasons:


  • Compounds with large differences in boiling points usually require different sorbents to ensure that the sample is retained by the tube
  • The properties of some compounds require different analysis procedures so different tubes are required.

What does Limit of Detection mean?

Limit of detection is the lowest concentration of the compound that can be identified during the analysis process. If the compound is present in lower concentrations than the limit of detection, it cannot be analysed. Guideline limits of detection can be found on the relevant technical data sheet or specific values can be obtained by contacting us.

What does Measurement Uncertainty mean?

Uncertainty is an unavoidable part of any measurement. Measurement uncertainty is a measure of the quality of a result. It demonstrates how well the result represents the true value of the quantity being measured.

What does Semi-Quantitative Analysis mean?

During semi-quantitative analysis, the compounds detected are compared to a non-specific standard to calculate their concentrations in the air. It is assumed that the compounds behave in the same way as the standard during the analysis.

What does Quantitative Analysis involve?

During quantitative analysis the compounds detected are compared to a standard of the same compound to determine their concentrations in the air. This is only available for the analysis of named compounds, not for the analysis of unknown compounds. This requires additional procedures so a charge applies.