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air canisters and digital flow controller

Air Testing

Since 1985, Alpha Analytical has remained committed to and focused on delivering the highest quality environmental testing results. Alpha’s exceptional reputation extends into our wide range of services  which include air testing for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, atmospheric gases, particulates and metals. The firm has earned its stature for expertise and service in support of indoor air and ambient air quality determinations related to health risk assessments. All of these projects are challenging and require reliable media, low detection limits and data of known quality in order to achieve results reported within the five-day standard turnaround to meet project requirements. With Alpha’s vast capacity and media availability, we have successfully completed a number of large programs requiring a 24-hour turnaround.

Air and Vapor Testing Expertise


Indoor air testing includes vapor Intrusion (VI). Indoor air samples are collected when building occupants want to know if there is an issue with IAQ.  Alpha’s on-time performance and on-line vapor intrusion criteria checker and focus on meeting our client delivery commitments. You can be assured that you will have the data when you need it.


Environmental remediation, construction sites, maintenance work, and industrial sites may all  need to monitor dust and chemicals that may be generated during onsite activities. Although much of this monitoring and control is performed in real time and on site, the program may need to be verified by definitive methods from an environmental-certified laboratory. Alpha supports many of the typical target parameters for these requirements and has. the courier network and capacity to respond to time-critical testing. 


Vapor intrusion is a  specific indoor air exposure pathway. However, there are impacts that can affect the quality of air in buildings including construction activities, new materials being put in, old substances being removed, mechanical issues with HVAC systems, spills, and the list goes on. We have the experience, the environmental testing, and superior service that can help support identification stemming from these kinds of issues.

Air Sampling & Media

Alpha Analytical maintains the highest quality and most reliable sampling media in the industry. The EPA has released EPA Method TO-15a, which has yet to be adopted by the testing community. This method includes an increased focus on measuring canister performance. Fused silica cans have been proven to perform better against other types of passivation to meet the EPA’s new criteria. At Alpha Analytical, we have an inventory of over 2,000 fused silica-lined canisters in a variety of sizes and capacities to meet your sampling project’s needs. Our experience has shown that fused silica-lined canisters over time clean more consistently than other passivated canisters. Using our digital pressure gauges takes the guesswork out of recording pressures pre and post sampling. We are unique in the industry by adopting their extensive use in the media we provide. Alpha provides considerable project-level technical support in all areas relating to air and VI testing, and we encourage you to reach out to our specialized team of experts as a resource. Our goal is to make your air testing project run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We have put together several educational videos to walk clients through our intensive processes:


Have you ever wondered what a canister goes through to become certified? Our laboratory technical director tells all in this air canister certification and cleaning video. We have found that baking the canisters in an oven gives us the most consistent results when cleaning our canisters, as shown in the video.  As an added quality measure, we provide both batch and individually-certified canisters that each have a unique ID so that we can track and record every step of the process. 


The helium leak check was the earliest and most recommended procedure for checking surface seals when installing subsurface sampling points. The process is fairly involved and there are many variants in the set ups used. What is shown in this video is a version of how to perform the tests. The goal is to demonstrate that when a sample is collected in the field, there is no leak at the surface seal. If the above surface air is pulled into the sample by a leaking surface seal, it is not good! The helium shutin and leak demonstration is not being used as extensively for a variety of reasons, these include a significant number of failures and the cost in time and materials. The good news? There is an alternative method that is gaining traction, the water dam.


Based on numerous requests for assistance with the shut in check, we put together an instruction kit, as well as a video that shows the basic steps that might be more helpful. The shut-in check is a “must do”  when collecting vapor samples, as it detects any leaks and shows the integrity of the air above the surface assembly. This is of paramount importance, as the most significant bias when sampling subsurface vapor occurs  from pulling air into the sample canister during sample collection. In most cases, leaks  will give a negative sample bias. (Yes, there is always the exception). When you are conducting a risk exposure evaluation, negative biases are not welcome. 


We are so proud of our media,  we  made  a movie about it. The film was produced to help our clients understand what comes in our air media shipping crate. Our video also shows EPA Method TO-15 canister sampling set ups for different types of sample collection. It is important to note that every crate includes a spare connection parts kit and  instructions for the  media enclosed that is based on your order.


Helium has been the standard for leak check for a decade or more, because it makes sense to use a gas to check for gas leaks. In many cases, depending on site conditions, using a helium tracer for leak check is still the preferred method. However, the main purpose of the check is to ensure that the surface is sealed to prevent air above the surface causing a negative bias (in almost all cases) during sampling. An alternative that has been gaining traction is the water dam, which is best applied to concrete slabs in good condition. As illustrated in our Water Dam Sub-Slab Air Supply video, this method uses water to confirm the surface seal. 


Air Testing Facility

Alpha Analytical has an environmental air testing laboratory with the largest capacity for Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) by EPA Method TO-15 in the Northeast. Our facility is located off Interstate 95, just south of Boston with easy access to the NE corridor. We have the largest inventory, in the NE, of silica-fused lined sample canisters that facilitate consistent cleaning over time and flow controllers with digital gauges that simplify use in the field. Alpha Analytical is able to respond quickly to requests with reliable quality media to collect your critical samples. For multiple can orders, we provide the media in commercial crates to make larger projects flow smoothly.  Within our service area, the media is delivered and picked up at the site, or the office, through the support of our in-house courier service network and service centers.

Alpha Analytical provides all the media for the methods we support. These include; canisters and flow controllers for VOCs; sorbent media for mercury and semi-volatiles; and particulate filters for metals and TSP. 

Data Management Tools for Inhalation Risk Assessment

Alpha Analytical provides a tool to assist in rapidly screening inhalation data against the current screening levels. If a sample of the air you are breathing is collected, you want to know, as soon as possible, if there is an issue or not.  Alpha’s Data Merger On-Line Risk Screening tool for vapor intrusion and work Inhalation exposure is loaded with the latest published levels. We maintain a database to ensure  current state and EPA screening levels, where we support air work, are included. The EPA updates their human health and environmental risk data on their Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) annually. These updates are then incorporated into both the Generic Screening tables and the Vapor Intrusion Screening Level (VISL) calculator.When these updates are published, Alpha updates the changes in our data merger criteria tables. For the EPA VISL Calculator; both the 10 minus 6; and 10 minus 5 screening levels for all the screening sample types and matrices. In addition to the EPA Tables, our screening criteria checker has published screening tables from many states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.   When any of these states publish updates, Alpha Analytical will update the respective tables in data merger to reflect the current screening values.  

What is helpful is how multiple criteria by matrix can be compared simultaneously for selected samples. The data is presented with flagged criteria exceedances for the sample results. You may download this information to your location in an Excel file. For VI pathway data evaluations,it provides the opportunity to concurrently look at sub-slab, (near slab), indoor air, rapid response criteria and ambient air data on the same sample. Very quickly you can see if criteria are exceeded and if it makes sense in the context of the samples collected. You can access this information 24/7 when you have an account and are signed in to Alpha’s customer center.

Alpha’s Data Merger On-Line Risk Screening tool can also group data and check criteria from multiple sampling events. This information can be consolidated into a single electronic file containing as many as 2,000 samples.

Contact Alpha Analytical today for your upcoming Air Testing project.

To speak to one of our technical experts please fill out the form to your left. 


What Our Clients Are Saying

“Alpha Analytical has become our preferred laboratory for New Jersey due to their reliability in providing quality data and also superior customer service. Alpha has subject matter experts that have provided valuable training to our teams for a variety of different subjects including emerging contaminants, data usability, VI, etc. We greatly value our relationships with our Account Manager, David Boring and Senior Project Manager, Ben Rao. Our partnership with Alpha has gone beyond what we normally expect from a laboratory because of the trust that we have in our extended project team. ”

Analytical Services

Alpha keeps up with the latest instrument technology, spending on average over $500,000 per year on new equipment.