U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1289–1295. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.07.011


Traditional high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analysis for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) can be time consuming and expensive. Consequently, alternative methods are of great interest to regulatory agencies and others characterizing contaminated sites. One factor that hinders acceptance of alternative methods is a lack of performance information that assesses the alternative method’s impacts on analytical results. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation Monitoring and Measurement Technologies Program (EPA SITE MMT) encourages the development and implementation of innovative and alternative monitoring methods by providing performance information on site characterization technologies. This paper presents a comparison of the results obtained from laboratory-based alternative approaches for screening sediment and soil samples for dioxin toxicity equivalents (TEQD/F) to results obtained using traditional HRMS. The laboratory-based approaches included modifying the traditional HRMS analysis to make it more cost-effective (alternate 1613B), analyzing extracts that had been prepared for HRMS using low resolution mass spectrometry, and determining total organic carbon (TOC) content as an indicator of PCDD/F content. These comparisons demonstrated that TEQD/F values generated using toxicity equivalency factors proposed by the World Health Organization in 1998 applied to alternate 1613B and LRMS analyses have a strong linear correlation to the TEQD/F values derived in the same fashion from traditional HRMS analysis. These results would have placed >90% of the samples within the same concentration intervals using ranges of <0.05, 0.05–0.50, 0.50–5, and >5 ng TEQ/g. Natural log transformed data for TOC had significantly weaker correlation to TEQD/F, indicating that TOC is not a reliable indicator of TEQD/F concentrations.