Meiqing Lin, Shengtao Ma, Yingxin Yu, Guiying Li, Bixian Mai, Taicheng An*.Simultaneous Determination of Multiple Classes of Phenolic Compounds in Human Urine: Insight into Metabolic Biomarkers of Occupational Exposure to E‑Waste. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2020, 7(5):323-329.
A new method using solid-phase extraction (SPE) and high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) was established for simultaneously analyzing 35 types of phenolic compounds in human urine samples, including 12 hydroxyl polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (OH-PAHs), 16 brominated phenols (BRPs), 5 hydroxyl polybrominated diphenyl ethers (OH-PBDEs), triclosan and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA). The presence of NH4Ac in mobile phase played a crucial role in achieving good separation of isomers in HPLC-MS/MS analysis. The efficient SPE condition was obtained at pH=2 with mixture eluent of methanol and dichloromethane. The recoveries of all analytes were 64.5%−143%, 56.2%−135% and 52.5%−123% for low, medium and high spiked levels in urine matrix, respectively, with less than 20% of RSDs of four of repetitive measurements. Moreover, the method was successfully applied to screen the potential urinary biomarker for population exposure to multi-pollutants from e-waste recycling area, and 3,4-diBRP, 2,4,5-triBRP, 2,3,4,6-tetraBRP and 2’-OH-BDE-28 were firstly tentatively detected in human urine. Especially, 3,4-diBRP, 2,3,4,6-tetraBRP and 2’-OH-BDE-28 were only detected in urine samples from e-waste dismantling workers, which should be considered as the urinary biomarkers for occupational exposure. Finally, this developed method will support a more comprehensive health risk assessment for human exposure to multi-pollutants.