Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

N-nitrosodimethylamine in drinking water using a rapid, solid-phase extraction method


A simple, rapid method for the extraction of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) from drinking and surface waters was developed using Ambersorb 572. Development of an alternative method to classical liquid-liquid extraction techniques was necessary to handle the workload presented by implementation of a provincial guideline of 9 ppt for drinking water and a regulatory level of 200 ppt for effluents. A granular adsorbent, Ambersorb 572, was used to extract the NDMA from the water in the sample bottle. The NDMA was extracted from the Ambersorb 572 with dichloromethane in the autosampler vial. Method characteristics include a precision of 4 % for replicate analyses, an accuracy of 6 % at 10 ppt and a detection limit of 1.0 ppt NDMA in water. Comparative data between the Ambersorb 572 method and liquid-liquid extraction showed excellent agreement (average difference of 12 %). With the Ambersorb 572 method, dichloromethane use has been reduced by a factor of 1,000 and productivity has been increased by a factor of 3–4. Monitoring of a drinking water supply showed rapidly changing concentrations of NDMA from day to day.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. [1]

    Freund, H. A.: Clinical Manifestations and Studies in Parenchymatous Hepatitis. Ann. Intern. Med. 10, 1144 (1937)

  2. [2]

    Magee, P. N.;J. M. Barnes: Carcinogenic Nitroso Compounds. Advanc. Cancer Res. 10, 163 (1967)

  3. [3]

    IARC Monograph on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man. 1, 85 (1972)

  4. [4]

    Fine, D. H.; D. P. Rounbehler: Occurrence of N-Nitrosamines in the Workplace. In: R.A. Scanlan; S. R. Tannenbaum, (Eds.), ACS Symposium Series, No. 174: N-Nitroso Compounds, Amer. Chem. Soc., 1981, p. 207

  5. [5]

    Fadlallah, S.;S. F. Cooper;M. Fournier;D. Drolet; G. Perrault: Determination of N-nitroso Compounds in the Environment of a Metal Factory Using Metalworking Fluids. Int. J. Environ. Anal. Chem. 39, 281 (1990)

  6. [6]

    Sen, N. P.;S. Seaman: Gas-Liquid Chromatographic-Thermal Energy Analyzer Determination of N-Nitrosodimethylamine in Beer at Low Parts per Billion Level. J. Assoc. Off. Anal. Chem. 64, 933 (1981)

  7. [7]

    Havery, D. C.;T. Fazio;J. W. Howard: Survey of Cured Meat Products for Volatile N-Nitrosamines: Comparison of Two Analytical Methods. J. Assoc. Off. Anal. Chem. 61, 1374 (1978)

  8. [8]

    Hotchkiss, J. H.;L. M. Libbey;J. F. Barbour;R. A. Scanlan: Combination of a GC-TEA and a GC-MS-Data System for the μg/kg Estimation and Confirmation of Volatile N-Nitrosamines in Foods. IRAC Sci. Publ. 10, 361 (1980)

  9. [9]

    Druckrey, H.;R. Preussmann: Zur Entstehung carcinogener Nitrosamine am Beispiel des Tabakrauchs. Naturwiss. 49, 498 (1962)

  10. [10]

    Fine, D. H.;D. P. Rounbehler;F. Huffman;A. W. Garrison;N. L. Wolfe;S. S. Epstein: Analysis of Volatile N-Nitroso Compounds in Drinking Water at the Part per Trillion Level. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 14, 404 (1975)

  11. [11]

    Nikaido, M. M.;D. Dean-Raymond;A. J. Francis;M. Alexander: Recovery of Nitrosamines from Water. Water Res. 11, 1085 (1977)

  12. [12]

    Kimoto, W. I.;C. J. Dooley;J. Carré;W. Fiddler: Nitrosamines in Tap Water After Concentration by a Carbonaceous Adsorbent. Water Res. 15, 1099 (1981)

  13. [13]

    Kul’bich, T. S.;L. A. Tiktin;A. A. Glavin: Sorptive Concentration as a Method for Improving Sensitivity of Determination of Nitrosamines in Water. J. Anal. Chem. USSR. 44, 1289 (1989)

  14. [14]

    Fine, D. H.;D. P. Rounbehler: N-Nitroso Compounds in Water. In:L. H. Keith (Ed.), Identification & Analysis of Organic Pollutants in Water, Ann Arbor Science Publ. Inc, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1976, p. 255

  15. [15]

    Kadokami, K.: Trace Analysis of Water-Soluble Compounds Using Activated Carbon Extraction Method. PPM. 22, 37 (1991)

  16. [16]

    Ministry of Environment and Energy (MOEE): Scientific Criteria Document for Multimedia Standard Development No. 01-90: N-Nitrosodimethylamine, ISBN 07729-8318-6. March (1991)

  17. [17]

    Ministry of Environment and Energy: The Determination of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in drinking Water and in Aqueous Samples by Gas Chromatography/High Resolution Mass Spectrometry, LSB Method MSABN-E3291A. (1993)

  18. [18]

    Ministry of Environment and Energy: Ontario Drinking Water Objectives, 5th Edition. (1994)

  19. [19]

    Method 607-Nitrosamines. (EPA) Federal Register: 49, 81 (1984)

  20. [20]

    Supelco, Inc: Ambersorb 572 Data Sheet (DS710085). (1990)

  21. [21]

    Taguchi, V. Y.;S. W., D. Jenkins;D. T. Wang;J.-P. F. P. Palmentier;E. J. Reiner: The Determination of N-nitrosodimethylamine by Isotope Dilution High Resolution Mass Spectrometry. Can. J. Appl. Spectrosc. 39, 878 (1994)

  22. [22]

    Taylor, J. K.: Quality Assurance of Chemical Measurements. Lewis Publishers, Inc. Chelsea, Michigan 1987

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Vincent Y. Taguchi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jenkins, S.W.D., Koester, C.J., Taguchi, V.Y. et al. N-nitrosodimethylamine in drinking water using a rapid, solid-phase extraction method. Environ. Sci. & Pollut. Res. 2, 207–210 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02986767

Download citation

Key words

  • NDMA
  • extraction method
  • rapid
  • solid-phase
  • Ambersorb 572