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A Rapid Screening Method for Detecting Hazardous Chemicals in Consumer Products, Food Contact Materials, and Thermal Paper Receipts Using ATR-FTIR Spectroscopy

Abstract 

We investigated the performance of attenuated total reflectance–Fourier-transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy to rapidly identify intentional additives in a variety of items commonly handled by consumers and workers. We investigated ortho-phthalate esters, specific alternative plasticizers, and flame retardants in food contact materials and consumer products. We also investigated bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS) developers in thermal paper purchase receipts. Applications include regulatory compliance screening and product deformulation. We compared FTIR results with mass spectrometry measurements. Samples were analyzed either intact or after a simple liquid-phase extraction using small amounts of nonhalogenated solvents. These methods greatly reduced the time and expense of identifying intentionally added phthalates and other plasticizers compared with more sensitive methods. Similarly, BPA and BPS were readily identified in receipts and organophosphorus flame retardants were identified in child car seats. In some samples, FTIR detected novel or unexpected additives not detected by conventional targeted methods. These approaches are useful for screening diverse product samples for intentional additives with a relatively portable instrument while generating very low volumes of spent solvent. 

Volume: 85 
Number: 4 
Pages: 8–15 
Published: November 2022 

Authors 

  • Gillian Zaharias Miller, PhD, Ecology Center 
  • Jeff Gearhart, MS, Ecology Center 

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