Environmental Chemistry Lab

We provide expertise in analytical and environmental chemistry

Analytical Testing

The Environmental Chemistry Laboratory coordinates closely with its departmental programs to enforce California’s hazardous substances and hazardous waste laws and regulations.  It receives and analyzes samples collected by field staff from the different programs, such as Hazardous Waste Management Program, Cleanup and Safer Consumer Products.  The environmental samples come from different sites and industries and from various special projects and initiatives of the Department.  The Laboratory also receives and analyzes biological samples from other entities such as Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The Berkeley and Pasadena laboratories are equipped with the latest and sophisticated analytical instruments to measure over hundreds of chemicals in a wide range of materials (matrices).  The laboratories follow standard methods issued by authoritative bodies such as USEPA SW-846 and CDC, but we also often adapt and/or develop new methods to measure chemicals in new matrices (children’s toys, e-wastes, glass beads, fabrics and foam) or new, previously unknown and yet-to-be-regulated chemicals.

In its analytical testing approach, the Laboratory examines each matrix with its unique attributes and determines the appropriate sample pre-preparation technique(s), sample preparation technique(s) such as digestion or extraction and cleanup procedures and analytical method.  ECL scientists have the experience and expertise to analyze difficult matrices that commercial laboratories cannot handle.  The goal of the Laboratory is to produce analytical results that are scientifically valid, meaningful and defensible in legal proceedings in support of the Department and State.

Sometimes, requests for analytical testing exceed our capacity or are outside our scope of work.  When this occurs we use commercial laboratories to handle the extra workflow or perform the other fields of testing such as Fish Bioassay and Asbestos.  When commercial labs are used, we monitor their work to ensure that they provide the same data quality as if the analyses were performed by ECL.  We avoid using a contract lab for samples that are likely to be subject to legal proceedings or are otherwise for critical decision-making.

ECL Analytical Testing Capabilities are summarized below.

Analytical Testing Capabilities
MatricesWater, sludges, oils, soils, ash, vegetation, wood, electronic-wastes, plumbing fixtures, brake pads, jewelry, glass beads, glass bottles, plastic packaging, auto shredder wastes, plastic toys, house dust, children's foam products, hand wipes, blood, serum, breast milk, urine, human tissues, indoor air and soil gas
Sample Pre-preparation TechniquesDrying, sieving, cleaning, grinding, dismantling, cutting, scraping, drilling, sawing and dry freezing
Sample Preparation TechniquesMicrowave digestion, acid digestion, Waste Extraction Test (WET), Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), Soxhlet extraction, Soxhtherm extraction, separatory funnel liquid-liquid extraction (SFLLE), purge and trap extraction, sonication, solid phase extraction (SPE) and accelerated solvent extraction (ASE)
Instrumentation (Analysis)·         GC-FID: Gas chromatography – Flame Ionization Detector
·         GC-FPD: Gas chromatography – Flame Photometric Detector
·         GC-µECD: Gas chromatography – micro-Electron Capture Detector
·         GC-MS: Gas chromatography – Single Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
·         GC-MS-MS: Gas chromatography – Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
·         GC-HRMS: Gas chromatography – High Resolution Magnetic Sector Mass Spectrometer
·         GC-QTOF: Gas chromatography – Quadrupole Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer
·         XRF: X-ray Fluorescence
·         ICP-OES: Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectroscopy
·         ICP-MS: Inductively Coupled Plasma – Single Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
·         ICP-MS-MS: Inductively Coupled Plasma – Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
·         IC-ICP-MS: Ion chromatography – Inductively Coupled Plasma – Single Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
·         LC-ICP-MS-MS: Liquid Chromatograph – Inductively Coupled Plasma – Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
·         LC-MS-MS: Liquid chromatography – Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
·         LC-TOF: Liquid chromatography – Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer
·         LC-QTOF: Liquid chromatography – Quadrupole Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer
·         FIMS: Flow Injection Mercury System
·         DMA: Direct Mercury Analyzer
·         UV-VIS: Ultraviolet Visible Spectrophotometer
·         Flashpoint Tester
·         pH Meter
Chemicals·         Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
·         1,4-Dioxane
·         Gasoline Range Organics (GRO)
·         Diesel and Motor Oil Range Organics (DRO & MORO)
·         Semi-volatile Organic Compounds (SVOC)
·         Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)
·         Organochlorine pesticides (OCP)
·         Organophosphorus pesticides (OPP)
·         Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Congeners
·         Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Aroclors
·         Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE)
·         Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFC)
·         Chlorinated / Brominated dioxins and furans
·         Organophosphate flame retardants
·         Brominated flame retardants
·         Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
·         Bisphenol A (BPA)
·         Phthalates
·         Triclosan
·         Synthetic musks
·         Metals: antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, silver, selenium, thallium, vanadium and zinc
·         Hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI)
·         pH
·         Non-targeted chemicals