Comparison of Tandem Quadrupole MS/MS and Magnetic Sector HRMS in the Analysis of Mixed-Halogenated Dioxins and Furans: Firefighter Occupational Exposure

New Environmental Monitoring Techniques for Organics
Oral Presentation

Presented by D. Stevens
Prepared by

Contact Information:; 508-482-4672


Halogenated dioxins and furans are persistent organic pollutants of environmental concern and are byproducts from both natural and anthropogenic sources. It has become important to be able to accurately detect a range of dioxins and furans at trace levels in a diverse range of matrices due to their persistence and toxicity. Historically, the preferred method of analysis for these compounds has been an electron ionization (EI) source on an high resolution magnetic sector mass spectrometer (HRMS). In this study, an alternate method utilizing atmospheric pressure ionization gas chromatography (APGC) coupled to a tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer (TQS) is applied to provide identification of a more comprehensive list of compounds in a single run as well as for discovery of additional potentially persistent and toxic forms of these compounds.

Through an extensive comparison of samples analyzed using both methodologies, APGC-TQS has been demonstrated to be comparable to sector-based HRMS analyses for trace level identification of dioxins and furans in environmental samples. The tandem quadrupole system provided the ability to report a limit of detection in the single femtogram range. An initial method was developed to simultaneously monitor for tetra- through octa- chlorinated dioxin and furan congeners, including the seventeen toxic congeners, in a single run. Furthermore, methods have successfully been developed for identification of a wide range of polybromo- and mixed bromo/chloro- dioxins and furans. These methods were applied in the characterization of fire debris to further understand the risk of firefighter exposure.