Identification of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in plastic products using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC/MS)

Nerlis Pajaro-Castro, Karina Caballero-Gallardo, Jesus Olivero-Verbel


Plastic materials are widely used in daily life. They contain a wide range of compounds with low molecular mass, including monomeric and oligomeric residues of polymerization, solvent-related chemicals residues, and various additives. Plastic products made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) are currently employed as food containers. This study therefore sought to identify volatile organic compounds released by EPS from food packages and utensils used in Cartagena, Colombia. EPS-based plates, food and soup containers were subjected to various temperatures and released chemicals captured by solid phase microextraction, followed by on column thermal desorption and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis. The results revealed the presence of at least 30 different compounds in the EPS-based products examined; the most frequently found were benzaldehyde, styrene, ethylbenzene and tetradecane. The release of these molecules was temperature-dependent. It is therefore advisable to regulate the use of EPS products which may be subjected to heating in order to protect human health by decreasing the exposure to these chemicals.


additives; expanded polystyrene (EPS); solid-phase microextraction (SPME); styrene

Revista Ambiente & Água. ISSN:1980-993X  DOI:10.4136/1980-993X



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