Published on New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center (

Environmental Organic Chemical Analysis

As the EPA-designated reference laboratory for NY State, the Environmental Organic Chemical Analysis Laboratory analyzes water, soil, and air samples submitted by state agencies and local health departments for a variety of organic environmental contaminants.

Analysis/tests routinely performed:

  • Volatile organic compounds in potable water
  • Pesticides/herbicides in potable water
  • Screens for hydrocarbon contamination associated with fuel spills in potable water
  • Volatiles in air associated with dry cleaning solvents

Additional testing capabilities:

  • Analysis of dioxin and other related persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in environmental samples
  • Analysis of pharmaceuticals in effluents from sewage treatment plants and in drinking water supplies
  • Analysis of volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, herbicides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in environmental samples
  • Analysis of health emergency response samples related to environmental spills, fires, and terrorist threats involving actual or potential toxic organic chemical releases into environmental matrices
  • Participation in the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) to determine whether contamination of food has occurred
  • Analysis of indoor and ambient air samples

The laboratory is accredited as EPA NY00009, ELAP 10763, Florida DOH E37910 for the analysis of various organic contaminants in potable water, nonpotable water, soil, oil, and air. The laboratory is also accredited as CLIA# 33D0654341 and PFI# 1067[1] for the analysis of organic contaminants in clinical specimens.

Proficiency Testing: The laboratory produces Organic Environmental Chemistry Proficiency Tests for NYS ELAP in both water and solid matrices.  Proficiency Test (PT) samples are used to evaluate the ability of a laboratory to identify organic contaminants in potable water, non-potable water, and soil matrices using approved methods.  Additional information, including a full list of PT offerings, and applications can be found at the ELAP[2] web page. 

Academic Programs: Several laboratory staff are faculty members of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences of the University at Albany School of Public Health.  Graduate courses in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology are offered by laboratory staff. Programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are supported through mentoring and providing research opportunities, all of which give students invaluable experience and knowledge of the operation of a major public health laboratory.  Opportunities for postdoctoral training in environmental organic chemistry are also provided, which allow young scientists to advance their careers in environmental research.   

Research and Development: Ongoing research activities include biomonitoring of organic compounds including PCBs, poly-brominated diphenyl ethers, perfluoroalkylsulfonates and carboxylates by analysis of human specimens, analysis of pharmaceuticals in effluents from sewage treatment plants and in drinking water supplies, and the determination of the environmental distribution of organic chemicals derived from industrial activity and personal care products.