EPA Method 8260B

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EPA Method 8260B:
Volatile Organic Compounds by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)

Volatile compounds are introduced into a GC with a capillary column by a purge-and-trap method or by other methods including azeotropic distillation, vacuum distillation, head space, direct injection, etc. Identification of target analytes os accomplished by comparing their mass spectra with the electron impact (or electron impact-like) spectra of authentic standards. Quantitation is accomplished by comparing the response of a major ion relative to an internal standard using a five-point calibration curve.

This method determines most volatile organic compounds with boiling points below 200 C.

SW-846 Online: Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods

Contamination by diffusion of volatile organic compounds may occur through the septum seal of the sample container while in the laboratory or during shipment and/or storage. Special precautions must be taken when analyzing for methylene chloride, a common laboratory solvent. Teh analytical and sample storage area should be isolated from all atmospheric sources of methylene chloride. Otherwise, random background levels will result. Major contaminant sources are volatile materials in the laboratory and impurities in the inert purging gas and in the sorbent trap. The use of non-polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) thread sealants, plastic tubing, or flow controllers with rubber components should be avoided, since such materials out-gas organic compounds which will be concentrated in the trap during the purge operation. Analyses of calibration and reagent blanks provide information about the presence of contaminants. When potential interfering peaks are noted in blanks, the analyst should change the purge gas source and regenerate the molecular sieve purge gas filter. Subtracting blank values from sample results is not permitted. If reporting values without correcting for the blank results in what the laboratory feels is a false positive result for a sample, the laboratory should fully explain this in text accompanying the uncorrected data.

QC Requirements:
QC procedures include evaluation of retention time windows, calibration verification, acceptable chromatographic analysis of samples, GC/MS tuning to meet specifications including acceptable 4-bromofluorobenzene (BFB) every 12-hour shift, initial demonstration of proficiency by the laboratory, and analysis of appropriate QC samples (including method blanks, matrix spikes, duplicates, and laboratory control samples (LCS) in each analytical batch plus the addition of surrogates to each field sample and QC sample.

Maximum Holding Time:
14 days (after collection)



Variable per analyte.

Sample Prep:
5030, 5035, 5031, 5032, 5021, 5041

See performance tables in method.

Detection limits using a variety of sample preparative methods are included.

Revision Number:
Rev. 2, 1996

Test Description:
Volatile Organic Compounds by GC/MS

Instrument used for this test: