Dioxins and Furans by GC Tandem Quadrupole MS: EPA Method 1613B Performance Comparison

New Organic Monitoring Techniques
Oral Presentation

Prepared by H. Lord
Bureau Veritas, 6740 Campobello Road, Mississauga, ON, L5N 2L8, Canada

Contact Information: [email protected]; 905-301-1757


For the past four decades GC-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) has been the technology of choice for litigation and regulatory requirements for dioxins and furans analysis, providing sub-ppt quantitative limits for water. EPA methods 8290 and 1613 were introduced in the 1980s and 1990s to codify and standardize methods for these analyses.

Although the technology’s performance is impressive it comes at a high cost for analysis due to high capital requirements and maintenance costs, along with a need for highly trained experienced staff. Since 2015, peer-reviewed articles have appeared demonstrating that GC with tandem quadrupole MS technology (GC-TQ) has similar performance to HRMS for dioxins and furans analysis but with lower capital and operating costs and significantly reduced maintenance requirements. While HRMS achieves its impressive performance through its high mass resolution, GC-TQ achieves this through careful control of the energetics of ionization and fragmentation along with a two-stage ion selection process. Until recently it was not possible to use this alternative technology to take advantage of lower costs and broader availability in an accredited laboratory environment because of the EPA methods requirement for mass resolution >10,000. This changed in 2020 when the EPA approved the first of two Alternate Test Procedure (ATP) methods for measurement of dioxins and furans as alternatives to EPA Method 1613B. Once fully promulgated stakeholders and labs nationwide will have a choice of using either HRMS or GC-TQ technology for dioxin and furan analyses.

This presentation will provide details of the similarities and differences between these technologies and a comparison of the results of validations conducted according to TNI and US DOD accreditation standards. The presentation will conclude with comparisons of real-world sample analyses performed in parallel using the two technologies.