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Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Oct 20;49(20):12519-24. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03809. Epub 2015 Sep 30.

Detection and Quantification of Benzothiazoles in Exhaled Breath and Exhaled Breath Condensate by Real-Time Secondary Electrospray Ionization-High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry and Ultra-High Performance Liquid Chromatography.

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Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich , CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.
Pulmonary Division, University Hospital Zurich , CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland.


2-Subtituted benzothiazoles are widely used industrial chemicals whose occurrence in environmental samples has been shown to be ubiquitous. However, knowledge about human exposure to these compounds and their excretion route is still scarce. Here, we demonstrate for the first time the detection of benzothiazole derivatives in exhaled breath. Real-time analysis of breath was carried out by means of secondary electrospray ionization coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry. This coupling allowed not only the detection of these compounds in breath with a sensitivity in the pptv range but also their robust identification by comparing tandem high-resolution mass spectra from breath and standards. For further confirmation, benzothiazoles were also determined in exhaled breath condensate samples by means of ultra high-performance liquid chromatography. This approach strengthened the identification as a result of excellent matches in retention times and also allowed quantification. An estimated total daily exhalation of ca. 20 μg day(-1) was calculated for the six benzothiazole derivatives found in breath.

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