2-Mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT) is one of the most important vulcanisation accelerators in the industrial production of rubber, especially car tires. Given its wide use in household articles and industrial rubber products it has a high potential to migrate into the environment. Humans can be exposed by dermal, oral, or inhalative routes. Incorporated MBT is excreted in urine, mainly as conjugates to glucuronide, sulfate, and mercapturic acid. On the basis of these facts MBT has been selected as a substance of high interest in the large scale 10-year German project on human biomonitoring (HBM); a cooperation between the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) and the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) with the objective of developing new analytical methods for relevant chemicals. The presented method was developed to determine MBT in human urine to reliably investigate the internal human MBT dose. Total MBT is measured after enzymatic hydrolysis followed by application of high-pressure liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS-MS) in positive-electrospray-ionisation mode (ESI+) using isotope-dilution quantification. High sample throughput could be obtained by use of the column-switching technique. Optimisation yielded an analytical method with a low and reproducible limit of detection (LOD) of 0.4 ?g L(-1) and a limit of quantification (LOQ) of 1 ?g L(-1), and low relative standard deviations in the range 1.6-5.8%. A small biomonitoring study covering unexposed humans and occupationally exposed workers was performed to establish the feasibility and reliability of the method. MBT was found in only one urine sample from the unexposed humans, at a value of 10.8 ?g MBT per litre, whereas it was found in all samples from the tested workers at values of up to 6210 ?g MBT per litre.
Authors: Gries W, Küpper K, Leng G. ;Full Source: Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2015 May;407(12):3417-23. doi: 10.1007/s00216-015-8533-5. Epub 2015 Feb 21. ;