Formaldehyde is an important industrial chemical. It is ranked 25th overall in United States chemical production and is predicted to surpass the current world production of 52 million tons in 2017. Currently 56% of the world’s production is in the Asia Pacific region with North America accounting for 15.8%.
It has been categorized as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogen” by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure can cause childhood-onset or aggravation of asthma, as well as headaches, eye irritation, and nosebleeds.
Despite the many health and environmental concerns, formaldehyde analysis is not undertaken as frequently as it should be, because of the challenges with conventional methods that utilize liquid or gas chromatography. In particular, the polarity and reactivity of it present significant challenges for formaldehyde analysis.
By contrast, Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry – SIFT-MS analyzes directly from air or headspace using soft chemical ionization, down to sub-part-per-billion-by-volume (ppbv) concentrations within seconds. The graph below shows automated SIFT-MS analysis of two Tedlar bag samples containing formaldehyde and the five linear C2 – C6 saturated aldehydes within one minute. Using HPLC with UV detection, analysis of these samples would take about 25 minutes, and that does not include sampling onto DNPH tubes and subsequent solvent extraction.
On January 24, 2018, Mark Perkins (Anatune) and Joe Wicks (Intertek Pharmaceutical Services – Manchester) will present a webinar on LCGC that is dedicated to validation of formaldehyde analysis using SIFT-MS.
Posted by Dr Vaughan Langford, Director of Applications and Marketing at Syft Technologies