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Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2014;31(5):962-72. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2014.896481. Epub 2014 Apr 14.

LC-MS/MS analytical procedure to quantify tris(nonylphenyl)phosphite, as a source of the endocrine disruptors 4-nonylphenols, in food packaging materials.

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  • 1a Nestlé Research Centre , Lausanne , Switzerland.


Tris(nonylphenyl)phosphite, an antioxidant used in polyethylene resins for food applications, is problematic since it is a source of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals 4-nonylphenols (4NP) upon migration into packaged foods. As a response to concerns surrounding the presence of 4NP-based compounds in packaging materials, some resin producers and additive suppliers have decided to eliminate TNPP from formulations. This paper describes an analytical procedure to verify the "TNPP-free" statement in multilayer laminates used for bag-in-box packaging. The method involves extraction of TNPP from laminates with organic solvents followed by detection/quantification by LC-MS/MS using the atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation (APCI) mode. A further acidic treatment of the latter extract allows the release of 4NP from potentially extracted TNPP. 4NP is then analysed by LC-MS/MS using electrospray ionisation (ESI) mode. This two-step analytical procedure ensures not only TNPP quantification in laminates, but also allows the flagging of other possible sources of 4NP in such packaging materials, typically as non-intentionally added substances (NIAS). The limits of quantification were 0.50 and 0.48 µg dm⁻² for TNPP and 4NP in laminates, respectively, with recoveries ranging between 87% and 114%. Usage of such analytical methodologies in quality control operations has pointed to a lack of traceability at the packaging supplier level and cross-contamination of extrusion equipment at the converter level, when TNPP-containing laminates are processed on the same machine beforehand.


4-nonylphenols; LC-MS/MS; Tris(nonylphenyl)phosphite; endocrine disruptor; packaging

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