pp 1-35 | Cite as

Passive Sampling of Waterborne Contaminants

  • Branislav VranaEmail author
  • Foppe Smedes
  • Klára Hilscherová
Part of the Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology book series


Passive sampling is a method that can conveniently be used for monitoring of organic contaminants in the aquatic environment comprising its various compartments. The time-integrating properties of passive sampling in combination with the application of a sampling matrix (polymers) with well-defined and constant properties make it possible to achieve a lower inherent variability of exposure information compared to traditional whole water grab sampling. This chapter provides a practical guidance on the selection and use of passive samplers for monitoring organic contaminants in the aquatic environment that should assist users of passive samplers who wish to implement passive sampling methods in their research or monitoring work according to the state of the art. It outlines principles of passive sampling, sampler preparation, field deployment, laboratory processing for chemical and toxicological analysis, calculation of aqueous concentrations and associated uncertainty considerations. Aspects of quality assurance are also addressed.


Aquatic environment Exposure assessment Monitoring Organic contaminants Passive sampling 





Adsorption-based passive sampling device


Bioconcentration factor


Brominated diphenyl ethers


Chemical activity


Freely dissolved aqueous contaminant concentration




Diethyl ether


Degree of equilibrium


Diffusion coefficient in polymer


Dynamic passive sampling


Environmental quality standards


Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry




Hydrophobic organic compounds


Instrumental internal standard


Polymer-water partition coefficient or sorbent-water distribution coefficient


Low-density polyethylene


Limit of detection


Limit of quantification


Molar mass


Mass of polymer used as receiving phase in a passive sampler


Amount of a compound in a sampler at equilibrium with sampled water


Amount of a compound accumulated in a passive sampler


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Polychlorinated biphenyls






Polar organic chemical integrative sampler


Partitioning-based passive sampling device


Performance reference compound


Passive sampling


Passive sampling device


Quality assurance/quality control


Recovery internal standard


Sampling rate


Solid phase extraction


Semipermeable membrane device


Time-weighted average


Water boundary layer


Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC



This work was supported by the SOLUTIONS Project supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-ENV-2013-two-stage Collaborative project) and the Czech Science Foundation grant no. GACR 20-04676X “Holistic exposure and effect potential assessment of complex chemical mixtures in the aquatic environment”. The research activities were carried out in the RECETOX Research Infrastructure supported by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (LM2018121) and the European Structural and Investment Funds, Operational Programme Research, Development and Education (CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_013/0001761).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Branislav Vrana
    • 1
    Email author
  • Foppe Smedes
    • 1
  • Klára Hilscherová
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Centre RECETOXMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic

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