Analysis of halonitriles in drinking water using solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
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Halonitriles are a class of nitrogen-containing disinfection by-products (DBPs) that have been reported to be more toxic and carcinogenic than the regulated DBPs. While haloacetonitriles (HANs) are often measured in drinking waters, there is little information on the formation, characteristics, and occurrence of other, higher molecular weight halonitriles. Halopropionitriles and halobutyronitriles have been predicted to be highly toxic and carcinogenic, and may have sufficient potency and selectivity to account for epidemiological associations of chlorinated and chloraminated water with adverse health effects. This paper reports on the development, optimisation, and validation of a simple, robust, and sensitive analytical method for the determination of halonitriles in waters, as well as the application of the method to study the formation and characteristics of halonitriles. This is the first reported method development for analysis halopropionitriles and halobutyronitriles, and the first study on their formation and occurrence as DBPs in drinking waters. The new method uses headspace solid-phase microextraction to extract the halonitriles from water, which are then analysed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (HS SPME/GC–S).
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