Increasingly it is being realized that a holistic hazard assessment of complex environmental contaminant mixtures requires data on the concentrations of hydrophilic organic contaminants including new generation pesticides, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and many chemicals associated with household, industrial, and agricultural wastes. To address this issue, we developed a passive in situ sampling device (the polar organic chemical integrative sampler [POCIS]) that integratively concentrates trace levels of complex mixtures of hydrophilic environmental contaminants, enables the determination of their time-weighted average water concentrations, and provides a method of estimating the potential exposure of aquatic organisms to the complex mixture of waterborne contaminants. Using a prototype sampler, linear uptake of selected herbicides and pharmaceuticals with log Kows < 4.0 was observed for up to 56 d. Estimation of the ambient water concentrations of chemicals of interest is achieved by using appropriate uptake models and determination of POCIS sampling rates for appropriate exposure conditions. Use of POCIS in field validation studies targeting the herbicide diuron in the United Kingdom resulted in the detection of the chemical at estimated concentrations of 190 to 600 ng/L. These values are in agreement with reported levels found in traditional grab samples taken concurrently.
Additional publication details
Development of a passive, in situ, integrative sampler for hydrophilic organic contaminants in aquatic environments