The coupling of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography with high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry offers the best separation efficiency combined with accurate mass measurements over a wide mass range. The tremendous power of this screening tool is illustrated by trace qualitative screening analysis of organohalogenated compounds (OHCs) in pet cat hair. Tentative identification was supported by mass spectral database searches and elemental formula prediction from the experimentally determined accurate mass data. This screening approach resulted in the first tentative identification of pentabromoethylbenzene, decabromodiphenyl ethane, hexabromocyclododecane, trisbromoneopentyl alcohol, tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate and tris(2-chloroisopropyl)phosphate in the South African indoor environment. A total of seventy-two OHCs were identified in the samples and include known flame retardants, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and legacy contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine, organophosphorous and pyrethroid pesticides. The results obtained from cat hair indicate that these pets are exposed to complex mixtures of OHCs and the detection of these compounds suggests that non-invasive cat hair samples can be used to model indoor exposure with reference to external deposition of OHCs present in the air and dust surrounding people. Toddlers share the same environment as pet cats and therefore also the same health risks.
- High-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry
- Indoor exposure to pollutants
- Organohalogenated compounds
- Pet cat hair
- Two-dimensional gas chromatography