Hyperlink 8. Contaminant Analysis Does Not Actually Measure Concentration

In the process of soil analysis for contaminants, “concentration” itself is not actually “measured.” Concentration is a derived property in that two other properties are measured and then concentration is calculated. Concentration is the mass of an analyte (which is measured by the analytical instrument) divided by the mass of the analytical subsample containing the analyte (which is measured when the analytical sample is weighed). The same mass of contaminant can be present in two different analytical samples, but if the mass of one of the samples is larger than the other, the larger one will be reported with a lower concentration than the smaller one. Contaminant concentration is a convenient measure, but it is actually the mass of contaminant that governs exposure severity and contaminant transport.