Standard Article

Detection and Quantification of Environmental Pollutants

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Robert D. Gibbons

Published Online: 15 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0810.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Gibbons, R. D. 2012. Detection and Quantification of Environmental Pollutants . Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2012

Abstract

With increasing concern over chemicals that are potential health hazards at low levels, determination of limits of detection and quantification have undergone considerable scrutiny. Most traditional detection limit (DL) estimators suffer from extensive statistical and/or conceptual limitations. In this article, traditional detection and quantification limit estimators are described and critically evaluated. Methods are categorized into decision limits, DLs and quantification limits. The methods are further categorized into single concentration design versus calibration design methodologies. While the single concentration design methods are useful for fixing ideas and clarifying definitions they are shown to be extremely limited in practice since dependence of variability on concentration can be neither estimated nor incorporated. Calibration-based detection and quantification limit estimators are described, compared, and contrasted. Discussion of nonconstant variance, multiple future detection decisions and simultaneous control of Type I and II errors is provided. The various methods are illustrated using real data and experimental design issues for DL studies discussed.