Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Chemistry


A new sampling device has been constructed for measuring occupational exposure to airborne organic compounds. The sampler enables the simultaneous determination of mono- and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Where these compounds are associated with dust particles, the sampler can collect both the inhalable and respirable portion of these particles. The sampler comprises three sections in series: a Teflon filter and two adsorbents, graphitised carbon and activated charcoal. The compounds trapped in each section are desorbed with small volumes of carbon disulphide and the hydrocarbons and other organics determined by gas chromatography, using either flame ionisation or mass spectrometric detection. The sampler design and performance were optimised using a suite of reference compounds chosen from the analysis of coal tar. The sampler was then used for the determination of more than 200 compounds in coke oven emissions from BHP Steel's plants at Port Kembla and Whyalla (Australia). The new sampler overcomes a major deficiency of the conventional BSF test (evaporative loss of a major portion of PAH) and also traps benzene and other mono-aromatics which in standard procedures requires a second sampling device: The carcinogen benzene was found to be a major component of coke oven emissions and is not detected by the conventional BSF test. Limited testing of environmental tobacco smoke and of emissions from bitumen manufacture and aluminium smelting suggests that the new sampler will be suitable for monitoring personal exposure to organic compounds (both particulate and vapour) in a wide variety of industries.