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A validated analytical method for the determination of perfluorinated compounds in surface-, sea- and sewagewater using liquid chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry

Wille, K., Vanden Bussche, J., Noppe, H., De Wulf, E., Van Caeter, P., Janssen, C.R., De Brabander, H.F., Vanhaecke, L.
Journal of chromatography 2010 v.1217 no.43 pp. 6616-6622
estuaries, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, perfluorocarbons, pollutants, quantitative analysis, seawater, solid phase extraction, surfactants, North Sea
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are extensively used in a wide variety of applications because of their specific surfactant properties, have recently appeared as an important new class of global environmental pollutants. Quantitative analysis of PFCs in aqueous matrices remains, however, a challenging task. During this study, a new analytical method for the determination of 14 PFCs in surface-, sewage- and seawater was developed and validated. The target analytes were extracted using solid-phase extraction followed by liquid chromatography coupled to a time-of-flight mass spectrometer (LC-ToF-MS). The use of very narrow mass tolerance windows (<10ppm) resulted in a highly selective MS-technique for the detection of PFCs in complex aqueous matrices. Validation of this analytical method in surface-, sewage- and seawater resulted in limits of quantification (LOQs) varying from 2 to 200ngL⁻¹, satisfying recoveries (92-134%), and good linearity (R ² =0.99 for most analytes). Analysis of samples of the North Sea, the Scheldt estuary, and three harbours of the Belgian coastal region led to the detection of four different PFCs. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was found to be the most abundant PFC in levels up to 38.9ngL⁻¹.