Liquid-liquid extraction-programmed temperature vaporizer-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for the determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in saliva samples. Application to the occupational exposure of firefighters.


Departamento de Química Analítica, Nutrición y Bromatología, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad de Salamanca, 37008 Salamanca, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


We present the development and validation of a sensitive method for the reliable determination of sixteen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in saliva samples, which can be used as exposure markers. This method was based on a liquid-liquid extraction and programmed temperature vaporizer-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis (LLE-PTV-GC-MS). Since no matrix effect was found, quantification was performed using external calibration. The detection limits were lower than or equal to 0.057 µg L-1 for all analytes, and repeatability and reproducibility (expressed as relative standard deviation, RSD) were always lower than or equal to 11% and 19%, respectively. The method was used to quantify polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the saliva samples taken from firefighters and unexposed volunteers, detecting the presence of seven of the sixteen analytes analysed. Two of the compounds (fluorene and phenanthrene) were found in the both exposed and unexposed individuals, while the remaining five analytes (naphthalene, acenaphthylene, anthracene, fluoranthene and pyrene) were only detected in samples taken from the firefighters. Good discrimination between the firefighters and the unexposed volunteers was obtained through a principal component analysis.


Exposure markers,Liquid-liquid extraction-programmed temperature vaporizer-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry,Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,Saliva samples,