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Analyses of volatile transformation products from additives in gamma-irradiated polyethylene packaging

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Thermal desorption, followed by gas chromatography (GC) with mass spectrometry (MS) detection, has been found to allow the rapid identification of volatile products resulting from the -irradiation of stabilized, high density polyethylene packaging and pure stabilizers. The stabilizers were tris(2,4-di-tert.butylphenyl) phosphite, octadecyl -(2,6-di-tert.butylphenol)-propionate and 2,4-di-tert.butylphenol, the latter resulting from phosphite hydrolysis. Thermal desorption indicated the formation and release of tert.butylbenzenes, such as 1,3-di-tert.butylbenzene upon -irradiation of the HDPE. From a comparison of the products from -irradiation of additive-free polyethylene, of various pure stabilizers and of related compounds, the tert.butylbenzenes were confirmed to result from the irradiation of the phosphite stabilizer and its phosphate conversion product. Thermal desorption off-line, in which volatiles released by a sample are trapped in sorbents for subsequent desorption in the heated GC inlet, is found to be a fast, extremely sensitive method that can be used to guide and supplement analyses of compounds extracted by foodstuffs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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