Novel biomonitoring method for determining five classes of legacy and alternative flame retardants in human serum samples

Guibin Jiang , Xiaolin Guan , Gaoxin Zhang , Lingling Meng , Mei Liu , Liyuan Zhang , Chuxuan Zhao , Yingming Li , Qinghua Zhang


Received July 15, 2022,Revised , Accepted September 14, 2022, Available online September 24, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 111-122

Flame retardants (FRs) are ubiquitous in environment and biota and may pose harm to human health. In recent years, concern regarding legacy and alternative FRs has been intensified due to their widespread production and increasing contamination in environmental and human matrices. In this study, we developed and validated a novel analytical method for simultaneous determination of legacy and alternative FRs, including polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), short- and middle-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs and MCCPs), novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs), and organophosphate esters (OPEs) in human serum. Serum samples were prepared by liquid-liquid extraction using ethyl acetate, and purified with Oasis® HLB cartridge and Florisil–silica gel columns. Instrumental analyses were carried out using gas chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry, high-resolution gas chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry, and gas chromatography coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry, respectively. The proposed method was validated for linearity, sensitivity, precision, accuracy, and matrix effects. Method detection limits for NBFRs, OPEs, PCNs, SCCPs, and MCCPs were 4.6 × 10–4–8.6 × 10–2, 4.3 × 10–3–1.3, 1.1 × 10–5–1.0 × 10–4, 1.5, and 9.0 × 10–1 ng/mL, respectively. Matrix spike recoveries ranged from 73%–122%, 71%–124%, 75%–129%, 92%–126%, and 94%–126% for NBFRs, OPEs, PCNs, SCCPs, and MCCPs, respectively. The analytical method was applied for detection of real human serum. CPs were the dominant FRs in serum, indicating CPs were widely presented in human serum and should be pay more attention for their health risk.

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