KENNETH T. (KENN) WHITE, MS, MM, CIH, CSP, FAIHA, FASTM, is the principal of Consultive Services in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is vice chair (membership) of ASTM International Committee D22; chair of subcommittee D22.12 on Sampling and Analysis of Lead for Exposure and Risk Assessment; a member of the AIHA Standards Advisory Panel; and a three-time recipient of the AIHA Edward J. Baier Technical Achievement Award. Send feedback to The Synergist.
ASTM Standards for Air Quality
Consensus standards are essential for implementing best practices in OEHS. To have ongoing representation in the development of OEHS consensus standards, AIHA established the Standards Advisory Panel (SAP) under the AIHA Guideline Foundation. One of SAP’s roles is to survey AIHA volunteer groups to determine which standards and standards-developing organizations are significant for our profession. From one such survey, SAP concluded that ASTM International Committee D22 on Air Quality has the greatest impact.
ASTM D22 governs 209 standards of five types: test methods, which are definitive procedures that produce a test result; specifications, or explicit sets of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, system, or service; practices, or sets of instructions for performing one or more specific operations that do not produce a test result; guides, or compendiums of information or series of options that do not recommend a specific course of action; and terminology, a document comprising definitions of terms and explanations of symbols, abbreviations, or acronyms.
SAP has assigned volunteers to represent AIHA on the D22 subcommittees that have jurisdiction over the 195 standards currently of interest to AIHA. This article describes the work of these important subcommittees. For more information about SAP, visit AIHA's website.
D22.01: QUALITY CONTROL This subcommittee provides standards for use by the rest of the D22 committee. It maintains the committee terminology standard, a guide for precision/bias calculations, and a practice for determining uncertainty. Also under the purview of D22.01 are standards that do not fit solely in any one subcommittee, including a practice for cleaning labware for use in the sample preparation and analysis for metals and metalloids, and a practice for conversion units and factors.
D22.01 is currently developing a standard for cleaning labware for use in the sample preparation and analysis for organics. Another D22.01 standard under development concerns the determination of method detection limits and addresses the incorrect belief, held by some, that EPA’s methodology as explained in 40 CFR 136 Appendix B is the definitive statement on this topic. The D22.01 subcommittee has already held a conference and two symposia on detection limits. Its standard will provide much-needed guidance that considers the various schools of thought on calculating detection limits, the circumstances under which each could be used, and technical considerations.
D22.03: AMBIENT ATMOSPHERES AND SOURCE EMISSIONS This subcommittee is responsible for test methods, practices, and guides for sampling and analysis of source and ambient atmospheres. Standards for determining concentrations of gases or particulates, including radionuclides, in those atmospheres using sensors, laboratory-based techniques, and continuous or semi-continuous monitors are among this subcommittee’s interests. Under development are standards for measuring pollutants at facility fence lines, supporting community-based monitoring, deploying sensors and maintaining quality control, and determining microplastics and PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in air.
D22.04: WORKPLACE AIR QUALITY This subcommittee develops methods, practices, specifications, and guides for sampling and analysis of chemical agents related to occupational exposures. Under its jurisdiction are 24 test methods including workplace determinations of metals by flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry; respirable dust using cyclone samplers; benzene-soluble particulate matter; 2,4-toluene diisocyanate (2,4-TDI) and 2,6-toluene diisocyanate (2,6-TDI) by hydrobromic acid derivatization; hexavalent chromium by ion chromatography and spectrophotometric measurement using 1,5-diphenylcarbazide; beryllium by extraction and optical fluorescence detection; metalworking fluid aerosol; elements in airborne particulate matter by inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry; volatile inorganic acids (hydrochloric acid, hydrobromic acid, and nitric acid) using filter sampling and suppressed ion chromatography; and respirable crystalline silica by infrared spectrometry.
In addition to airborne sources, contaminants on surfaces are also of interest. D22.04 has developed a practice for collection of settled dust samples using wipe sampling methods for subsequent determination of metals and a guide for dermal wipe sampling for the subsequent determination of metals and metalloids. The subcommittee organizes forums, conferences, and symposia for discussion of analytical methods, quality assurance, and research relating to the determination of chemical agents of concern. Under development are a draft guide for sampling semi-volatile and non-volatile organic compounds on surfaces and a draft test method for hydrogen sulfide using real-time electrochemical detectors.
D22.05: INDOOR AIR This subcommittee focuses on measurement of concentrations of organic and inorganic chemicals, particulate matter, and radionuclides in the nonoccupational indoor environment. This includes characterization of indoor sources, fate and transport of emissions, exposure pathways, characterization of processes that may affect indoor concentrations, and stimulation of research in IAQ. Standards cover topics related to indoor air and dust sampling and analysis, emission testing for air pollutants from consumer products and building materials, ventilation, indoor air modeling, and IAQ evaluation and exposure.
D22.05 consensus standards provide procedures and protocols to address issues related to air pollutants and to ensure an energy-efficient and healthy IAQ environment for building occupants. These standards can help business and industry manufacture quality products while also safeguarding consumers and end users. Standards under development include evaluation of indoor air sensors for carbon dioxide, defining and categorizing consumer products for indoor exposure assessment, chemical assessment of air cleaning technologies, and two standards for indoor PFAS sampling and analysis.
D22.07: SAMPLING, ANALYSIS, AND MANAGEMENT OF ASBESTOS AND OTHER MICROSCOPIC PARTICLES This subcommittee has jurisdiction over a wide range of standards, practices, guidance documents, and analytical methods related to understanding, managing, detecting, and measuring asbestos and similar particles. This includes use in the general environment, in the built environment, in occupational settings, and as tools for investigators studying these hazards for industry, regulators, insurance and property owners, risk assessors, laboratories, and epidemiologists. While regulators mandate measuring, monitoring, and managing asbestos in occupational settings, they do not always describe how to achieve these ends or how to measure, survey, and manage the hazard. D22.07 standards provide OEHS investigators with tools to address these mandates. The standards cover soil in a crawlspace, comprehensive building surveys, developing concentration gradients of asbestos on surfaces after an episodic release in a building, monitoring for airborne asbestos, and other topics. D22.07 also creates e-learning modules, develops special technical publications on asbestos, holds workshops and symposia, and organizes the Michael Beard and Harry Rook international conferences.
Along with its consensus standards activities, Committee D22 sponsored symposia in 2018 and 2022 on detection limits in air quality and environmental measurements.
D22.08: ASSESSMENT, SAMPLING, AND ANALYSIS OF MICROORGANISMS The subcommittee seeks to establish the standard of care regarding microorganisms for the IAQ industry. Current D22.08 standards include guides for inspection of water systems for Legionella, methodology for evaluating the ability of indoor materials to support microbial growth, and an assessment of fungal growth in buildings; test methods for categorization and quantification of airborne fungal structures in an inertial impaction sample by optical microscopy and for direct microscopy of fungal structures from tape; and practices for collection of total airborne fungal structures via inertial impaction methodology, fungal material from surfaces by swab, fungal material from surfaces by tape lift, and culturable airborne fungi or bacteria on agar plates by inertial impaction systems. The subcommittee has also been working on a guide for post-remediation verification, which will become the first such consensus standard in the industry.
D22.09: THE TAG FOR ISO/TC 146 ON AIR QUALITY This subcommittee develops no ASTM standards. It represents the United States as the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the International Standards Organization Technical Committee on Air Quality (ISO/TC 146). Anyone from the U.S. who wishes to be actively involved with ISO/TC 146 needs to be a part of this TAG. Among other activities, D22.09 provides U.S. representation to proposed updates for ISO 7708, which defines particle size fractions for health-related sampling, and assesses proposals from other countries on topics (such as greenhouse gases) that could affect OEHS interests in the U.S.
D22.12: SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS OF LEAD FOR EXPOSURE AND RISK ASSESSMENT Standards under the jurisdiction of D22.12 concern hazards involving lead, especially those resulting from the use of lead-based paint. For lead-based paint that has already been applied, D22.12 has standards for sampling it, preparing those samples for analysis, and performing the analysis. Other standards concern recordkeeping of related activities, performing an inspection to find hazards, conducting clearance for re-occupancy after disturbing paint, what to do when a hazard is identified, and unique terminology. A new standard under development is based on the latest research involving sampling for airborne particulate and describes how to sample for lead in airborne particulate collected during activities that disturb paint.
In September 2022, ASTM cosponsored two webinars with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and EPA. UNEP and the World Health Organization jointly lead the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint. The webinars highlighted D22.12 standards for possible use by the Central American and African nations in attendance.
D22.13: COMPRESSED AIR QUALITY D22.13 is the newest D22 subcommittee, devoted to test methods for ensuring that compressed gases meet specified purity requirements. D22.13 published its first standard last year as D8446, Standard Test Method for Water Vapor Content in Compressed Air Using Electronic Moisture Analyzers, and has begun work on a test method to validate hydrocarbon content in high-pressure air or nitrogen.
OTHER WORK Along with its consensus standards activities, Committee D22, in cooperation with ASTM Committee E11 on Quality and Statistics, sponsored symposia in 2018 and 2022 on detection limits in air quality and environmental measurements. Presentations and published papers, including several by AIHA members, explored aspects of this controversial topic, such as how detection and quantification limits are defined and calculated, how laboratories and OEHS professionals use or misuse detection and reporting limits, data censoring, confusing nomenclature, implications for users of laboratory data in decision-making, and associated policy issues. Outcomes of the 2022 symposium include plans to develop a guide on detection limits and a practice for laboratory data reporting.