Wiping Out PCBs

Wiping Out PCBs

Because of their prevalence in industrial manufacturing applications, many of our environmental consulting and industrial clients find themselves requiring wipe sampling guidance for PCBs.  Merit Laboratories provides its clients with PCB wipe sampling kits to support field sample collection activities.  The Merit PCB wipe kits are typically used for the wipe sampling of machinery, equipment, flooring, and other surfaces within industrial manufacturing facilities. 

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are synthetic organic chemical compounds produced by substituting chlorine atoms for the hydrogen atoms on a biphenyl molecule. Because of their chemical and physical properties, there were many industrial applications that used PCBs.  These properties include being very stable synthetic compounds, resistant to flammability, are persistent, and exhibit low electrical conductivity.   There was widespread use of PCB-containing building materials in factories, buildings, and schools that were built or renovated between in the 20th Century.  Unfortunately, PCBs have significant adverse health effects and should be managed properly.  PCBs were banned for manufacture by the United States in 1979.

To assist our clients, Merit Laboratories provides the PCB wipe sampling kit along with specific instructions.  Here's a look at Merit’s PCB wipe sampling instructions.

Merit Laboratories Wipe Sampling Instructions for PCBs

1. Use the provided 10cm x 10cm template (or measure a 10cm x 10cm area on the surface) to establish the area to be sampled.

2. With gloved hands, take a piece of gauze and dip into the hexane.

3. Immediately begin applying the gauze using a gloved hand and, applying pressure, wipe the marked area completely twice, from left to right and then from top to bottom.

4. Fold the gauze (sampled side inward) and place in the sample jar.

5. Cap the sample jar.

6. Remove and discard the gloves.

7. Label the bottle and include the sample tag and collection information on a COC.

It should also be noted that a clean pair of gloves should be used for the collection of each wipe sample.  

In addition to PCBs, Merit can also provide wipe sampling kits and analytical testing for metals. Please contact Merit Laboratories to learn more about PCB wipe sampling and how we can support your next project.  Merit maintains  NELAP accreditation for a comprehensive list of analytical parameters, including accreditation for PCBs.