A Canister-Based Method for Collection and GC/MS Analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds in Human Breath
A method previously used for collection and analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in human whole breath was modified to encompass compounds with higher vapor pressures. A VOC spirometer was designed for field studies of environmentally exposed populations with breath concentrations in the µg/m3 (ppb) range. The VOC spirometer was configured for sample collection and GC/MS analysis of breath samples using stainless steel canisters. Recoveries of 17 analytes in synthetic breath through the spirometer at 4 and 21°C were generally above 80% except for n-dodecane which demonstrated poor recoveries at the lower temperature. The maximum sample volume available for analysis during recovery studies with natural breath was 100 mL because of copious quantities of CO2 present. Decay curves showing the breath elimination of 1,1,1-trichloroethane and benzene from a man after exposure to consumer products demonstrates the utility of the method.