Should I use Tedlar bags or Suma Canisters for collecting air samples?


Suma canisters are generally preferred for collecting samples for several reasons: The holding time is much longer with a canister– 30 days vs. 72 hours for a Tedlar bag (some parameters as short as 24 hours); unlike a bag, canisters reduce or eliminate leaking due to an inadvertent puncture or a leaking seal; and the inert nature of the canister allows for trace level analysis of compounds without significant contribution from background contaminants sometimes found in Tedlar bags.

Tedlar bags are appropriate when sampling at sites with significant contamination from petroleum fuel sources, sites being sampled for only sulfur or atmospheric gases, or from chlorinated solvent contaminated sites where expected HVOC levels are in the ppmV or high ppbV range. Tedlar bags are ideal for immediate, onsite analysis but less appropriate when samples are being transferred to a stationary lab site.

Tedlar bags are never appropriate when sampling to Indoor air ESLs or when Naphthalene is a compound of concern.

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