Air pollution has been described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the largest single environmental health risk, with eight million deaths attributed to air pollution exposure each year. Air is a dynamic matrix and is complex at trace levels. Conventional analytical technologies (such as GC/MS and HPLC) lack the time resolution and responsiveness required to provide timely answers, so that the root cause of air quality perturbations can be rapidly identified and addressed. SIFT-MS is a direct mass spectrometric technology for continuous, sensitive, selective and robust analysis of air. Diverse VOCs (such as benzene and formaldehyde) and inorganic gases (such as sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide) are detected in a single, simple analysis.
Vietnam is thought to be one of the most polluted countries in the world, with areas of high population density and lower levels of economic development leading to acute air quality issues in major cities. A recent UK funded project (A Tale of Two Cities) conducted observations of a wide range of trace gases in Hanoi using SIFT-MS, to provide some of the first ambient organic and inorganic gas phase speciation data in that region.