Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

MS Industrial Hygiene


Industrial Hygiene

Committee Chair

Terry Spear

First Advisor

Julie Hart


NIOSH Method 2549 uses a hyphenated thermal desorption-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry instrumental method with thermal desorption tubes as the sample media for assessment of a variety of volatile and semi-volatile compounds. Other methods in the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods use solvent extraction methods for analysis. Of note are those methods that require the analysis of coconut charcoal tubes using carbon disulfide extraction and subsequent analysis via gas chromatography-flame ionization detector. Presented here is a comparison of the methodologies with regard to environmental and occupational health ramifications, as well as method sensitivity as evaluated via limits of detection and compound ranges.

Evaluation of the changes of capability in thermal desorption instrumentation over the twenty years following the inception of the NIOSH 2549 Method call for a review of its use as a screening method. Advances suggest that quantitative methods are now appropriate based on said advances. Elimination of prior “one-shot” sample desorption that lead to the favor of solvent extraction for volatile organic compound analysis is no longer applicable. While both methods have certain limitations, benefits such as sensitivity gains related to pre-concentration (thermal desorption) techniques along with the added benefit of control via elimination of solvent support a review of standing methods for many volatile organic compounds in the NIOSH method lexicon. Drawing from updated reference methods and various studies, additional data can be gleaned to further support the advancement of thermal desorption as a trusted and versatile means of quantitation.


A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Industrial Hygiene Distance Learning / Professional Track