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Development of a Liquid Chromatographic Method for Quantifying 11 Organotin Compounds in Workplace Air Samples using HPLC-ICP-MS


Organotin compounds (OTCs) represent a crucial class of organometallic compounds extensively employed in polymer manufacturing as process catalysts and stabilizers, among other applications. At manufacturing facilities, OTCs can be emitted as vapors or dust particles. Due to their considerable toxicity, even at low concentrations, they are subject to wide regulatory oversight, including occupational exposure limits. Given that toxicity varies based on structural characteristics, speciation analysis is imperative for accurate risk assessment. Some OCTs are suspected to be endocrine disruptors. Presently, specific compound-focused workplace exposure monitoring methods are lacking.

Research Objective:
In addressing this gap, a German research group specializing in occupational safety developed a rapid and practical method to detect organotin compounds in workplace air samples.

Figure: Organotin componds determined by the developed method

The group conducted a comprehensive study on the separation behavior of 11 OTC compounds using a C18 column and varying mobile phases with solvents of different polarities. Optimization of separation efficacy led to a ternary gradient by initially increasing the overall organic content and then modulating the elution by adjusting the ACN:MeOH ratio. The addition of 0.17% α-tropolone to the aqueous eluent achieved the optimal separation.

Utilizing ICP-MS detection with a cooled spray chamber and oxygen addition to the argon carrier gas, the team achieved detection limits ranging from 0.14 to 0.57 µg Sn/L for the 11 OTCs.

Furthermore, the analysis of compound mixtures is complicated by cross-reactions among different OTCs, resulting in the formation of new compounds. The researchers emphasize that prior to validation and real-world application in workplace air sampling, sample preparation procedures must be meticulously optimized to preserve unstable OTCs.

The original publication

Carina Cläsgens, Tobias Schwank, Katrin Pitzke,  Occupational exposure to organotin substances: Development of a liquid chromatographic separation method for 11 organotin compounds in workplace air samples via HPLC-ICP-MS, J. Chromatogr. A, 1718 (2024) 464695. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2024.464695

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Z. Tian, L. Xing, D. Li, L. Ma, R. Wu, N. Tian, C. Zhang, Speciation of Tin in Tobacco by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography – Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (HPLC-ICP-MS), Anal Lett, 53/15 (2020) 2501-2516, DOI: 10.1080/00032719.2020.1746325

W. Gui, C. Tian, Q. Sun, S. Li, W. Zhang, J. Tang, G. Zhu, Simultaneous determination of organotin pesticides by HPLC-ICP-MS and their sorption, desorption, and transformation in freshwater sediments, Water Res., 95 (2016) 185-194, DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2016.02.056

D.P. Bishop, D.J. Hare, A. de Grazia, F. Fryer, P.A. Doble, Speciation and quantification of organotin compounds in sediment and drinking water by isotope dilution liquid chromatography-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, Anal. Methods, 7/12 (2015) 5012-5018, DOI: 10.1039/c5ay00555h

Z.-h. Yu, J.-q. Sun, M. Jing, X. Cao, F. Lee, X.-r. Wang, Determination of total tin and organotin compounds in shellfish by ICP-MS, Food Chem., 119/1 (2010)364-367, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.05.079

Carol Boraiko, John Batt, Evaluation of Employee Exposure to Organic Tin Compounds Used as Stabilizers at PVC Processing Facilities, J. Occup. Environ. Hyg., 2/2 (2005) 73-76. DOI: 10.1080/15459620590906810

R. Wahlen, T. Catterick, Comparison of different liquid chromatography conditions for the separation and analysis of organotin compounds in mussel and oyster tissue by liquid chromatography-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, J. Chromatogr. B, 783/1 (2003) 221-229, DOI: 10.1016/s1570-0232(02)00662-1

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last time modified: April 10, 2024


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