Standard Article

Polychlorinated Biphenyls Analysis in Environmental Samples

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Bert van Bavel,
  2. Mats Tysklind,
  3. Gunilla Lindström

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0855

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

van Bavel, B., Tysklind, M. and Lindström, G. 2006. Polychlorinated Biphenyls Analysis in Environmental Samples. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


The analysis of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a wide variety of environmental samples is discussed, starting with the more traditional methodology and moving on to more recent developments that are expected to continue in the twenty-first century. Several detection techniques, including gas chromatography (GC) coupled with electron capture detection (ECD) and mass spectrometry (MS), are described in the first part of this article. The use of MS as a detection technique is discussed in detail, from both a qualitative and a quantitative point of view. To a large extent the detection technique used determines the sample pretreatment and clean-up, and in later paragraphs column clean-up on adsorbents is discussed, including fat removal, alumina column chromatography and planar separation on carbon. A new methodology for the analysis of PCBs in environmental samples is also described. Both speed of analysis using gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC/TOFMS) and environmentally friendly analysis using supercritical CO2 are discussed in detail. In the last section several aspects of quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) are discussed using an international intercalibration study as an example.