Headspace analysis for screening of volatile organic compound profiles of electronic juice bulk material

The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems continues to gain popularity, and there is concern for potential health risks from inhalation of aerosol and vapor produced by these devices. An analytical method was developed that provided quantitative and qualitative chemical information for characterising the volatile constituents of bulk electronic cigarette liquids (e-liquids) using a static headspace technique. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were screened from a convenience sample of 146 e-liquids by equilibrating 1 g of each e-liquid in amber vials for 24 h at room temperature. Headspace was transferred to an evacuated canister and quantitatively analysed for 20 VOCs as well as tentatively identified compounds using a preconcentrator/gas chromatography/mass spectrometer system. The e-liquids were classified into flavour categories including brown, fruit, hybrid dairy, menthol, mint, none, tobacco, and other. 2,3-Butanedione was found at the highest concentration in brown flavour types, but was also found in fruit, hybrid dairy, and menthol flavour types. Benzene was observed at concentrations that are concerning given the carcinogenicity of this compound (max 1.6 ppm in a fruit flavour type). The proposed headspace analysis technique coupled with partition coefficients allows for a rapid and sensitive prediction of the volatile content in the liquid. The technique does not require onerous sample preparation, dilution with organic solvents, or sampling at elevated temperatures. Static headspace screening of e-liquids allows for the identification of volatile chemical constituents which is critical for identifying and controlling emission of potentially hazardous constituents in the workplace.

Authors: LeBouf RF, Burns DA, Ranpara A, Attfield K, Zwack L, Stefaniak AB. ; Full Source: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2018 Jul 4. doi: 10.1007/s00216-018-1215-3. [Epub ahead of print]