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(498) Trichloroethylene in fruits and vegetables: preliminary field survey results.
Doucette, William1, Chard, Julie1, Chard, Brandon1, Fabrizius, H1, Crouch, Coreen1, Gorder, Kyle2, 1 Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA2 Environmental Management Directorate, Hill Air Force Base, UT, USA
ABSTRACT- Trichloroethylene (TCE) contaminated groundwater originating from Hill Air Force Base (HAFB) in northern Utah has migrated into surrounding communities. Concern among base officials and local residents regarding the potential for TCE uptake and translocation into edible fruits prompted an initial field survey in fall 2001 where approximately 200 samples were collected (including replicates) from fruit trees and other vegetation above historical plume boundaries. Using headspace gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC/ECD), TCE was detected in several fruit and tree core samples. The identity of TCE was confirmed on a subset of samples using headspace gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) operated in selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode. A more rigorous follow-up study was conducted in fall 2002 to determine if the TCE identified in trees and fruit during the previous year was representative of a continuing problem or was a one-time occurrence. Prior to the follow-up study, the headspace GC/MS method was validated specifically for apples, peaches, tomatoes and carrots. In fall 2002, over 400 samples were collected (including replicates) from six communities surrounding HAFB. No TCE was found in any of the fruit or vegetable samples above the method detection limit (approximately 0.1 mg/kg fresh weight, depending on sample size) but TCE was again detected in several fruit tree core samples. The apparent difference between the 2001 and 2002 results may be from an improvement in data quality or from changes in the environmental conditions associated with transfer of TCE into fruit. Continued monitoring is planned for fall 2003 in addition to a greenhouse uptake study using [14C]TCE.
Key words: headspace gas chromatography, translocation, chlorinated solvents, method detection limits
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