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Analysis of polychlorinated n-alkanes in environmental samples

Santos, F. J., Parera, J., Galceran, M. T.
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2006 v.386 no.4 pp. 837-857
European Union, United States Environmental Protection Agency, air, alkanes, bioaccumulation, diastereomers, enantiomers, food webs, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, international organizations, sediments, United States
Polychlorinated n-alkanes (PCAs), also known as chlorinated paraffins (CPs), are highly complex technical mixtures that contain a huge number of structural isomers, theoretically more than 10,000 diastereomers and enantiomers. As a consequence of their persistence, tendency to bioaccumulation, and widespread and unrestricted use, PCAs have been found in aquatic and terrestrial food webs, even in rural and remote areas. Recently, these compounds have been included in regulatory programs of several international organizations, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and the European Union. Consequently, there is a growing demand for reliable methods with which to analyze PCAs in environmental samples. Here, we review current trends and recent developments in the analysis of PCAs in environmental samples such as air, water, sediment, and biota. Practical aspects of sample preparation, chromatographic separation, and detection are covered, with special emphasis placed on analysis of PCAs using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The advantages and limitations of these techniques as well as recent improvements in quantification procedures are discussed.