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The Why and How of BTEX Testing

BTEX testingAccurate and reliable BTEX testing is crucial for producers of uncountable products, from paints and adhesives to leather products and plastics. Not only is accruate analysis a critical step in preventing exposure and contamination that can affect human health and the environment, but it is a necessary part of complying with EPA guidelines and the Florida Administrative Code. Partnering with a knowledgeable and competent environmental services laboratory is key to staying on top of your BTEX emissions.

Methods of BTEX testing

There are several methods of testing for BTEX compounds, including gas chromatography (GC) or with photo-ionization detector. Samples can come from air, water, or soil.

When undergoing a GC analysis, headspace sampling allows the VOCs to be analyzed without first undergoing a sample extraction. The sample is placed in a sealed vessel before being warmed. The heat brings the compounds into a state between liquid and gas. A sample is then removed from the atmosphere and introduced into the port of the GC. This static headspace method is ideal for aromatic samples, pharmaceuticals, resins, and petroleum.

A photo-ionization analysis detector (PID) is a a simple, straightforward, and less expensive method of measuring BTEX compounds. It is a non-destructive method that responds differently to aromatic hydrocarbons than to other gas components.

To perform a PID analysis, the BTEX compounds are separated from the remaining compounds with a trap and purge that takes advantage of their differences in solubility and volatility.

By identifying BTEX contamination, the producer can take the critical steps needed for remediation.

Main sources of BTEX contamination

BTEX – Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene – occur naturally but these petroleum derivatives have toxic effects that are exacerbated by their water solubility and polarity parameters. Contamination occurs when these VOCs are released in an expected way, like through emissions, or leaked accidentally, such as through underground storage tank ruptures, oil spills, or refinery leaks.

BTEX emissions can be prevalent in seemingly unlikely trades – even nail salons release amounts of toluene through high-volume use of polish. But the compounds are released in significantly greater volumes in industries including:

  • Industrial manufacturing
  • Oil refining
  • Paints and adhesives

Consulting with a dedicated environmental services laboratory allows a producer, manufacturer, or handler of BTEX compounds to gain a complete and accurate picture of their exposure and emissions.

BTEX testing in Florida

Phoslab Environmental Services serves the environmental testing needs of greater central Florida. Since the 1960’s, we have been assisting businesses by providing accurate testing needed to stay in compliance with state and federal regulations. If your business handles BTEX compounds, our professionals can assist in crafting a plan based on your needs to ensure you receive reliable, fast, and affordable results.

Our testing methods comply with EPA requirements and provide complete breakdown of BTEX compounds. We include analysis of water, soil, and vapor, and provide you with a comprehensive report listing the concentration of individual compounds.

There is no one-size-fits-all method of performing environmental analysis. To ensure complete and accurate testing in Florida, call (863)576-5083 to speak with a Phoslab professional.