A screening method for analyzing environmental waters contaminated with UV filters using direct analysis in real-time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) was developed. To demonstrate the suitability of DART-MS a test set of seven organic UV filters, namely benzophenone-3 (BP-3), ethylhexyl dimethyl p-aminobenzoate (OD-PABA), 4-t-butyl-4′-methoxydibenzoylmethane (BM-DBM), homomethyl salicylate (HMS), 2-(ethylhexyl) salicylate (EHS), octocrylene (OC), and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), was defined. In the first step, standard solutions of the analytes prepared in methanol were investigated in order to determine optimum parameters for the DART-MS. Because of the very low concentrations of UV filters expected in environmental water samples, a pre-concentration step using stir bar sorptive extraction was performed. DART-MS allows the direct, simple and rapid semi-quantitative analysis of the analytes enriched on the surface of the polydimethylsiloxane-coated stir bars. The optimized method provided calibration curves with correlation coefficients R > 0.959, repeatability from 5% (for 4-MBC) to 30% (for BM-DBM) relative standard deviation and limits of detection lower than 40 ng L−1 for all analytes. Finally, real lake water samples from locations with typical leisure activities were analyzed. Results obtained with the developed DART-MS method were cross-checked by confirmatory analysis using thermodesorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS). Thereby, it could be demonstrated that both analytical methods provide comparable concentrations for the UV filters in the lake water samples.
Eusolex Sunscreen agents Water analysis DART mass spectrometry
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The authors gratefully acknowledge JEOL (Europe) BV, Zaventem, Belgium for providing the DART-AccuTOF.