Determination of HFRs and OPFRs in PM2.5 by ultrasonic-assisted extraction combined with multi-segment column purification and GC-MS/MS

Yanyan Chen, Yi Jie Chen, Yanhao Zhang, Ruijin Li, Wei Chen, Shi Chao Yan, Zenghua Qi, Zhi Feng Chen*, Zongwei CAI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Toxic chemicals such as flame retardants are associated with atmospheric fine particles (PM2.5), which are an important pollutant in the world. In this study, a sensitive method using gas chromatography-tandem triple quadrupole mass spectrometry combined with ultrasonic-assisted extraction and multi-phase column purification was developed for simultaneously determination of 29 flame retardants including halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) and organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) in PM2.5 samples. Extraction time, as well as the type and volume of elution solvent were optimized. The recoveries of all target flame retardants from PM2.5 samples were in the range of 70%‒130%, with good repeatability and reproducibility (0.39%‒17.4%). The instrumental detection limits (IDLs) and method quantitation limits (MQLs) of HFRs were in the range of 0.004‒5.44 pg and 0.002‒2.52 pg m−3, while those of OPFRs were 0.003‒0.23 pg and 0.07‒5.41 pg m−3, respectively. The developed method has been successfully applied for analysis of target flame retardants in atmospheric PM2.5 collected from the cities of Guangzhou and Taiyuan, China. HFRs were found at concentrations of 45.7‒1230 pg m−3 and 51.2‒82.3 pg m−3 in Guangzhou and Taiyuan. The concentrations of HFRs were lower than those of OPFRs, which were detected at concentrations of 6004‒49,800 pg m−3 and 16,741‒34,346 pg m−3 in Guangzhou and Taiyuan. Accordingly, the analytical method is robust and useful for further elucidating the contamination profiles of flame retardants in PM2.5.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Flame retardant
  • GC-MS/MS
  • Multi-segment column purification
  • PM
  • Ultrasonic-assisted extraction


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