Solvent effects on quantitative analysis of brominated flame retardants with Soxhlet extraction
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Reliable quantifications of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) not only ensure compliance with laws and regulations on the use of BFRs in commercial products, but also is key for accurate risk assessments of BFRs. Acetone is a common solvent widely used in the analytical procedure of BFRs, but our recent study found that acetone can react with some BFRs. It is highly likely that such reactions can negatively affect the quantifications of BFRs in environmental samples. In this study, the effects of acetone on the extraction yields of three representative BFRs [i.e., decabrominated diphenyl ether (decaBDE), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA)] were evaluated in the Soxhlet extraction (SE) system. The results showed that acetone-based SE procedure had no measureable effect for the recovery efficiencies of decaBDE but could substantially lower the extraction yields for both TBBPA and HBCD. After 24 h of extraction, the recovery efficiencies of TBBPA and HBCD by SE were 93 and 78% with acetone, 47 and 70% with 3:1 acetone:n-hexane, and 82 and 94% with 1:1 acetone:n-hexane, respectively. After 72 h of extraction, the extraction efficiencies of TBBPA and HBCD decreased to 68 and 55% with acetone, 0 and 5% with 3:1 acetone/n-hexane mixtures, and 0 and 13% with 1:1 acetone/n-hexane mixtures, respectively. The study suggested that the use of acetone alone or acetone-based mixtures should be restricted in the quantitative analysis of HBCD and TBBPA. We further evaluated nine alternative solvents for the extraction of the three BFRs. The result showed that diethyl ether might be reactive with HBCD and may not be considered as the alternative to acetone used solvents for the extraction of HBCD.