Suspect screening analysis in house dust from Belgium using high resolution mass spectrometry; prioritization list and newly identified chemicals


In recent years, several changes have been made to the composition of various products which are used indoors. Plenty of new chemical additives have been incorporated to materials to comply with current legislation and safety rules. Consequently, the emission profiles of contaminants detected indoors may change over time, requiring continuous monitoring. In this study, dust samples were collected from 25 homes located in the Flemish region of Belgium during different seasons (winter and summer). Our aim was the development of a suspect screening workflow for the identification of new chemicals which might have been applied to indoor goods, released into the indoor environment, and accumulated in dust. An in-house suspect list was curated including selected groups of compounds, namely “phthalates”, “phosphates”, “terephthalates”, “citrates”, “trimellitates”, (di-, tri-, tetra-) “carboxylic acids”, “adipates”, “azelates”, “sebacates”, (di-)”benzoates”, and “succinates”. 63 chemicals were prioritized based on their level of identification and detection frequency in samples. Seasonal comparison was tested, indicating that higher temperatures of summer might facilitate the release of few chemicals from the products into the indoor environment. Seven chemicals, to the best of our knowledge not previously reported, were selected out of the 63 listed and identified for structure confirmation using high-resolution mass spectrometry. Tributyl trimellitate (TBTM), bis (3,5,5-trimethylhexyl) phosphate (Bis-3,5,5-TMHPh), iso-octyl 2-phenoxy ethyl terephthalate (IOPhET), dimethyl azelate (DMA), dimethyl sebacate (DMS), dipropylene glycol dibenzoate (DiPGDB) and 3,5-di-tert-butyl-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde (BHT-CHO) were detected at frequencies ranging from 8 to 52% in winter and 4-56% in summer dust.

Authors: Christina Christia, Giulia Poma, Noelia Caballero-Casero, Adrian Covaci
; Full Source: Chemosphere 2020 Aug 3;263:127817. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127817.