Evaluating the blank contamination and recovery of sample pre-treatment procedures for analysing organophosphorus flame retardants in waters

Organophosphate esters (OPEs), used as flame retardants and plasticisers, are widely present in environmental waters. Development of accurate determination methods for trace OPEs in water is urgent for understanding the fate and risk of this class of emerging pollutants. However, the wide use of OPEs in experimental materials results in blank interference, which influences the accuracy of analytical results. In the present study, blank contamination and recovery of pre-treatment procedures for analysis of OPEs in water samples were systematically examined for the first time. Blank contaminations were observed in filtration membranes, glass bottles, solid phase extraction cartridges, and nitrogen blowing instruments. These contaminations could be as high as 6.4-64ng/L per treatment. Different kinds of membranes were compared in terms of contamination levels left after common glassware cleaning, and a special wash procedure was proposed to eliminate the contamination from membranes. Meanwhile, adsorption of highly hydrophobic OPEs on the inside wall of glass bottles was found to be 42.4%-86.1%, which was the primary cause of low recoveries and was significantly reduced by an additional washing step with acetonitrile. The authors concluded that this study is expected to provide guidelines for the establishment of analysis methods for OPEs in aqueous samples.

Authors: Liang K, Niu Y, Yin Y, Liu J. ;Full Source: Journal of Environmental Science (China). 2015 Aug 1;34:57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jes.2015.01.022. Epub 2015 May 18. ;