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J AOAC Int. 1995 Mar-Apr;78(2):391-7.

Survey of trihalomethanes and other volatile chemical contaminants in processed foods by purge-and-trap capillary gas chromatography with mass selective detection.

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U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Washington, DC 20204, USA.


A limited number of soft drinks, juices, beers, and waters from processed vegetables were analyzed for trihalomethanes (THMs), benzene, and toluene by a modified Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 524.2. The THMs, which include chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform, are reaction by-products of water disinfection by chlorination. EPA Method 524.2 is a purge-and-trap capillary gas chromatographic method based on mass spectrometric detection which identifies and simultaneously measures purgeable volatile organic compounds in drinking water. Chloroform was present at concentrations ranging from none detected to 94 ng/g in the 44 foods analyzed. Bromoform was not found in any of the products at a detection limit of 0.1 ng/g. Residue levels of the other THMs ranged from none detected to highs of 12 and 2 ng/g for bromodichloromethane and dibromochloromethane, respectively. Benzene residues were typically < 5 ng/g, except for 7 and 9 ng/g in 2 foods. Toluene residues were typically < or = 3 ng/g except for 23, 29, and 75 ng/g in 3 canned foods.

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