As short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are listed on several monitoring programs, validated methods are essential. However, their complexity and the lack of commercially available certified reference materials (RMs) hinder a proper validation of methods. Instead, one method is usually ‘validated’ by evaluating performances and results of spiked materials with that of one other method, which could easily lead to unreliable results. This study evaluated four analytical methods with different principles (i.e. comprehensive two dimensional GC coupled to a micro electron capture detector, developed for this study, chloride enhanced atmospheric pressure chemical ionization triple quadrupole time of flight MS (APCI-QToF-HRMS), GC coupled to an electron capture negative ion low resolution MS (GC–ECNI–LRMS) and carbon skeleton GC–MS), investigated the comparability in SCCP determination in spiked and naturally contaminated samples and determined SCCP amounts in candidate RMs for possible certification. The results cast doubt on the use of the most commonly applied method (i.e. GC–ECNI–LRMS), as well as using spiked materials for method validation. The APCI-QToF-HRMS method was found most promising as it achieves the required MS resolution (>21,000), is relatively fast and can detect also other CPs. The suitable identified SCCP levels in the candidate RMs and the agreement in results between the methods bring the first certification of a RM for SCCPs within reach.
- Certified reference materials
- Chlorinated paraffin (CP)
- Short-chain chlorinated paraffin (SCCP)