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    ABSTRACT: The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private ones of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the United States Department of Defense or the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Rapid on-site detection and identification of environmental contaminants to which personnel may be exposed is often needed during military deployment situations. The availability of military industrial hygienists with capabilities for "complete" on-site exposure assessment of chemical species should allow detection and identification of a number of important stressors almost immediately following sample collection. Portable gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) provides a rapid and efficient separation of volatile and semivolatile organic analytes, accompanied by sensitive electron impact ionization-mass spectrometry (EI-MS) detection. The use of GC/MS in the field is limited, however, by equipment cost, complexity of the equipment, and the analytical process. Additionally, a skilled operator is needed to obtain useful separations and to interpret mass spectral data. To demonstrate benefits and limitations of "complete" exposure assessment capabilities, a previously unidentified complex mixture, produced by thermal dispersion of riot control agents, was examined. Established active sampling methods were used with laboratory analyses. Solid phase microextraction, a passive sampling method that simplifies preparation for GC/MS analysis, also was used with a field-portable GC/MS system. Both sampling/analysis methods were used to detect CS riot control agent-derived air contaminants dispersed from riot control type canisters through oxidizer-supported combustion of a chemical fuel.
    AIHA Journal 01/2002; 63(3):284-92.