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Comparing different gas chromatographic methods for the quantification of bisphenol A (BPA) trace levels in paper and cardboard products from the market

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Bisphenol A (BPA; 4,4-(propane-2,2-diyl)diphenol), a suspected endocrine disruptor with weak estrogenic activity, is used in a variety of consumer products, including paper and cardboard products used as food contact materials. The present study compared four different gas chromatographic methods for the analysis of BPA in paper and cardboard food packages. Eighteen different food packages were extracted and BPA was determined using two different derivatisation reactions – trimethylsilylation with N,O-bis(trimethylsilyl) trifluoroacetamide (BSTFA) and halide alkylation with pentafluorobenzoyl chloride (PFBOCl) – and four different separation and detection techniques. The BSTFA derivatives were quantified with (1) GC-MS in single-ion monitoring (SIM) mode with electron ionisation (EI-GC-MS) and (2) GC-MS/MS in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode using electron ionisation (EI-GC-MS/MS); while the PFBOCl derivatives were quantified with (3) GC-MS using electron ionisation (EI-GC-MS) as well as (4) GC-MS with negative chemical ionisation (NCI-GC-MS). All developed methods showed good linearity (R 2 > 0.9938), precision (CV < 4.5% for reproducibility; CV < 2.2% for repeatability) and sensitivity, with limits of detection (LODs) between 0.02 µg kg−1 for the pentafluorobenzoyl derivatives measured with the NCI-GC-MS method and 6 µg kg−1 for the pentafluorobenzoyl derivatives determined with EI-GC-MS. Levels of BPA in the samples were in agreement for all methods, ranging from values below the limit of quantitation (LOQ) to 11.9 mg kg−1 paper. In a last step, the maximum potential migration into food products was calculated for all tested paper and cardboard samples, assuming a ‘worst case’ scenario of 100% migration.
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Keywords: bisphenol A (BPA); derivatisation; food packaging; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS); gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS); paper and cardboard

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food Chemistry and Human Sensory Analysis, Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Food Chemistry, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria

Publication date: August 3, 2015

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