Automated Extraction and GC/MS Determination of Phthalates in Consumer Products


App Note 4/2013

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Test Method CPSC-CH-C1001-09.3 [1], is used by testing laboratories for the determination of phthalate content in children’s toys and child care articles covered by the standard set forth in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act Section 108. The CPSC determined that an appropriate combination of methods of extraction and analysis is sufficient to determine the concentration of the six regulated phthalates in most consumer products. The general manual approach is to dissolve the sample completely in tetrahydrofuran, precipitate any PVC polymer with hexane, filter and then dilute the solution with cyclohexane, and analyze by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). A combined autosampler and sample preparation robot commonly used for sample introduction in GC or HPLC can be used to perform a wide variety of sample preparation techniques using a single instrument set-up and associated control software. Among the autosampler capabilities controlled by MAESTRO software are filtration and centrifugation, both of which can be used to clean up polymer extracts for further analysis. The autosampler can be configured as part of a GC or LC system or can be used independently as bench top workstation. In this work, we demonstrate automated extraction of phthalates in consumer products based on CPSC method CPSC-CH-C1001-09.3 directly combined with GC-MS analysis of the extract. The entire extraction and analysis process is streamlined and helps reduce or eliminate exposure of laboratory personnel to potentially hazardous materials.