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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in water: method development and application to river samples from a populated tropical urban area


A method for the determination of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in water from urban rivers was implemented and validated. Extractions of dissolved and particulate PCBs were performed using solid-phase extraction and a pressurized solvent extraction system, respectively, and the analytes were identified and quantified by gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry in selected reaction monitoring mode with no further purification. The method was successfully developed for the determination of 41 PCBs with two precursor-product confirmations for each analyte. Low method detection limits (0.06–0.50 ng L−1) and good precision (≤ 20%; n = 8) were obtained, as well a linear response of the calibration curve ranging from 1.0 to 50 ng L−1. Method performance for real samples was tested with water collected weekly in triplicate during April 2018 from a eutrophic river in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The total (dissolved + particulate) PCB concentrations ranged from 2.17 to 5.29 ng L−1, above the threshold for river water quality standards in Brazil.

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This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001.

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Correspondence to Carlos German Massone.

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Stoll, G.C., da Silva Carreira, R. & Massone, C.G. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in water: method development and application to river samples from a populated tropical urban area. Anal Bioanal Chem (2020).

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  • Tandem mass spectrometry
  • PCBs
  • SPE
  • Method development
  • Environment pollution