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Determination of adsorbable organically bound fluorine (AOF) and adsorbable organically bound halogens as sum parameters in aqueous environmental samples using combustion ion chromatography (CIC)
- von Abercron, Eleonora, Falk, Sandy, Stahl, Thorsten, Georgii, Sebastian, Hamscher, Gerd, Brunn, Hubertus, Schmitz, Franz
- The Science of the total environment 2019 v.673 pp. 384-391
- automation, bioaccumulation, bromine, chemical industry, chlorine, combustion, cost effectiveness, fluorine, groundwater, industrial wastewater, iodine, ion exchange chromatography, perfluorocarbons, surface water, tandem mass spectrometry, toxicity, wastewater treatment
- Because of their toxicity and biomagnification potential individual perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are regularly examined in food and environmental matrices by LC-MS/MS. The combustion ion chromatography (CIC) can be used to determine adsorbable organic fluorine (AOF) in aqueous samples. This report describes the optimization and validation of an automated, robust, cost-efficient and rapid CIC method for the determination of AOF. The analysis of 25 fluorinated organic reference substances was performed with recoveries between 16% and 121%. Water from selected surface waters (n = 74), municipal (n = 116) and industrial wastewaters (n = 33) as well as ground water (n = 93) were analyzed by means of CIC. The AOF values of surface water varied between 2.3 and 24.5 μg/L. The concentrations of AOF in 85% of the wastewater discharges were between 2.0 and 8.5 μg/L, while 15% of the samples were below the limit of quantitation (LOQ = 2 μg/L AOF). In 56% of the ground water samples the values were below the LOQ. In 44% of the surface water samples (n = 41) the values were between 2.0 and 6.1 μg/L AOF. CIC analysis was performed in 22 samples from a chemical company wastewater treatment plant, and 14 individual PFAS were determined by LC-MS/MS. AOF values up to 555 μg/L were found in these samples while the total of the individual PFAS, calculated as fluorine, was 8.8 μg/L. This provides evidence, that CIC covers a huge range of fluoroorganic compounds that are presently not detected by LC-MS/MS. Furthermore, the CIC method allowed the determination of four halogens in 26 surface water samples. This demonstrated that the CIC technique can be used as a powerful screening test to support LC-MS/MS methods, and is also useful to detect organic chlorine, bromine and iodine compounds (AOCl, AOBr and AOI).