Identification and determination of phthalates by UPLC-MS / MS

Phthalates are substances added to plastics to improve their characteristics ( flexibility, transparency, elasticity, etc. ). Depending on the use of the latter as food or cosmetic packaging, toys, various objects ... a risk of migration is to be considered.

Certain phthalates such as DBP *, DIBP * or even BBP * have been classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances by ECHA (European Chemicals Agency), their respective contents in materials must therefore be monitored.
Thanks to the analytical qualities of the UPLC-MS/MS (High Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled with Tandem Mass Spectrometry), it is possible to detect them up to trace levels, of the order of ten ug/L.

* DBP = Dibutyle Phthalate CAS [84-74-2]
* DIBP = Diisobutyl phthalate [84-69-5]
* BBP = Butyl benzyl phthalate CAS [85-68-7]

Identification et dosage de phtalates

Different application cases for dosing phthalates

Likely to migrate from the polymer to the matrices in contact, the use of phthalates is now very closely monitored.

Different directives and regulations have been established depending on the sector of use of the material:

  • Toys and childcare articles
    The use of phthalates for the manufacture of toys and childcare articles intended for children under three years of age has been regulated since 1999 (Decision 1999/815/EC). Substances considered to be potentially dangerous have been banned.
  • Cosmetic products
    Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 (recast of Directive 76/768/EEC) prohibits the use in cosmetic products of substances classified CMR category 1 or 2 (among (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (BBP), and bi-2-methoxyethyl phthalate (DMEP)).
  • Foodstuffs
    Directive 2007/19/EC prohibits the use of phthalates DEHP and DBP for plastic packaging in contact with fatty foods (risk of contamination of food) and imposes migration limits for DEHP, DBP and BBP in other food applications.
  • Medical devices
    European regulation n°1907/2006, known as REACH regulation, aims to reinforce the principle of substitution of the substances considered to be the most dangerous and to ensure the best documented information possible to the public on the risks linked to the use and / or the exposure to said substances.
    European Directive 2007/47/EC which came into force on March 21, 2010 imposes new requirements on the manufacturers of certain medical devices including phthalates classified CMR (1 or 2).

List (not exhaustive) of the compounds that can be targeted in UPLC / MS / MS analyzes:
Di-n-butylphthalate (DBP) - CAS 84-74-2
Di-isobutylphthalate (DIBP) - CAS 84-69-5
Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; di- (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; DEHP (or “DOP“) - CAS 117-81-7
Benzylbutylphthalate (BBP) - CAS 85-68-7
Bis (2-Methoxyethyl) phthalate - CAS 117-82-8
Dimethyl phthalate (DMP) - CAS 131-11-3
Diethyl phthalate (DEP) - CAS 84-66-2
Di-n-propyl phthalate (DPP) - CAS 131-16-8
Di-n-pentyl phthalate (DNPP) - CAS 131-18-0
N-Pentyl-isopentylphthalate - CAS 776297-69-9
Di-n-hexyl phthalate (DNHP) - CAS 84-75-3
1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, di-C6-8-branched alkyl esters, C7-rich - CAS 71888-89-6
1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, di-C7-11-branched and linear alkyl esters - CAS 68515-42-4
Dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP, DCP) - CAS 84-61-7
Di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP) - CAS 117-84-0
Di-iso-pentyl phthalate (DIPP) - CAS 605-50-5
Di-iso-octyl phthalate (DIOP) - CAS 27554-26-3
Di-2-propyl heptyl phthalate (DPHP) - CAS 53306-54-0
Di-iso-nonyl phthalate (DINP) - CAS 28553-12-0
Di-n-nonyl phthalate (DNP), - CAS 84-76-4
Di-iso-decyl phthalate (DIDP) - CAS 26761-40-0

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