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A simultaneous analysis method of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nicotine, cotinine and metals in human hair

Li, Zhenjiang, Wang, Bin, Ge, Shufang, Yan, Lailai, Liu, Yingying, Li, Zhiwen, Ren, Aiguo
Environmental pollution 2016 v.219 pp. 66-71
cotinine, digestion, environmental exposure, epidemiological studies, hexane, humans, metals, methylene chloride, nicotine, pollutants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, sodium hydroxide, solvents, tetramethylammonium compounds, trace elements
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nicotine, cotinine, and metals in human hair have been used as important environmental exposure markers. We aimed to develop a simple method to simultaneously analyze these pollutants using a small quantity of hair. The digestion performances of tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) for human hair were compared. Various solvents or their mixtures including n-hexane (HEX), dichloromethane (DCM) and trichloromethane (TCM), HEX:DCM32 (3/2) and HEX:TCM73 (7/3) were adopted to extract organics. The recoveries of metals were determined under an optimal operation of digestion and extraction. Our results showed that TMAH performed well in dissolving human hair and even better than NaOH. Overall, the recoveries for five solutions were acceptable for PAHs, nicotine in the range of 80%–110%. Except for HEX, other four extraction solutions had acceptable extraction efficiency for cotinine from HEX:TCM73 (88 ± 4.1%) to HEX:DCM32 (100 ± 2.8%). HEX:DCM32 was chosen as the optimal solvent in consideration of its extraction efficiency and lower density than water. The recoveries of 12 typical major or trace metals were mainly in the range of 90%–110% and some of them were close to 100%. In conclusion, the simultaneous analysis of PAHs, nicotine, cotinine, and metals was feasible. Our study provided a simple and low-cost technique for environmental epidemiological studies.