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Capillary microextraction: A new method for sampling methamphetamine vapour

Nair, M.V., Miskelly, G.M.
Forensic science international 2016 v.268 pp. 131-138
business enterprises, decontamination, desorption, filter strips, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, glass, manufacturing, risk, solid phase microextraction, vapors
Clandestine laboratories pose a serious health risk to first responders, investigators, decontamination companies, and the public who may be inadvertently exposed to methamphetamine and other chemicals used in its manufacture. Therefore there is an urgent need for reliable methods to detect and measure methamphetamine at such sites. The most common method for determining methamphetamine contamination at former clandestine laboratory sites is selected surface wipe sampling, followed by analysis with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). We are investigating the use of sampling for methamphetamine vapour to complement such wipe sampling. In this study, we report the use of capillary microextraction (CME) devices for sampling airborne methamphetamine, and compare their sampling efficiency with a previously reported dynamic SPME method. The CME devices consisted of PDMS-coated glass filter strips inside a glass tube. The devices were used to dynamically sample methamphetamine vapour in the range of 0.42–4.2μgm⁻³, generated by a custom-built vapour dosing system, for 1–15min, and methamphetamine was analysed using a GC–MS fitted with a ChromatoProbe thermal desorption unit. The devices showed good reproducibility (RSD<15%), and a curvilinear pre-equilibrium relationship between sampling times and peak area, which can be utilised for calibration. Under identical sampling conditions, the CME devices were approximately 30 times more sensitive than the dynamic SPME method.The CME devices could be stored for up to 3days after sampling prior to analysis. Consecutive sampling of methamphetamine and its isotopic substitute, d-9 methamphetamine showed no competitive displacement. This suggests that CME devices, pre-loaded with an internal standard, could be a feasible method for sampling airborne methamphetamine at former clandestine laboratories.