Analytical Standards for Persistent Organic Pollutants

By: Matthias Nold, Analytix 2009, 5, 11.

Product Manager Analytical Standards


Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a threat to human health and to the environment. Since they are very stable and hydrophobic molecules, they bio-accumulate through the food web and pose signifi cant health risks such as cancer, birth defects, reproductive disorders, and dysfunctional nervous and immune systems in humans and in wildlife. Polar regions are most exposed, since many toxins are swept to the Arctic by ocean or air currents; no individual in any global region, however, is free from measurable traces of POPs.

With the aim to eradicate the most dangerous of these chemicals, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was organised under the guidance of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2001. The Convention, which entered into force in May 2004, listed the 12 most dangerous POPs (called the “dirty dozen”) that shall be either outlawed or strictly limited. These 12 initial chemicals included a range of chlorinated pesticides (DDT, Aldrin, Chlordane, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene, Mirex and Toxaphene) as well as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

In May 2009, a follow-up conference was held in Geneva to update the list of hazardous chemicals. Parties agreed to expand the list by nine more chemicals, including the insecticide Lindane, α- and β-hexachlorocyclohexane, the pesticide chlordecone, perfluorooctane sulphonic acid, pentachlorobenzene as well as hexabromobiphenyl, and two bromodiphenylether congeners (BDE) which are used as fl ame retardants.

The goal of the convention, to protect human health and the global community by reducing and eventually eradicating these dangerous substances, is a very challenging one. Analytical chemistry can supply an important contribution by measuring the levels of persistent organic pollutants in food and in the environment. This not only protects consumers from the exposure and uptake of these toxins, but also helps monitor the progress of the worldwide elimination of POPs.


Product Name Prod. No. Brand Pack Size
Aldrin 36666 Fluka 250 mg
Aldrin solution 100 ng/μL in acetonitrile 36664 Fluka 2 mL; 10 mL
Chlordane (technical mixture) 45378 Fluka 250 mg
α-Chlordane solution 10 ng/μl in cyclohexane 31197 Fluka 2 mL
Dieldrin 33491 Fluka 100 mg
Dieldrin solution 100 ng/μL in acetonitrile 36660 Fluka 2 mL
Endrin 32014 Fluka 250 mg
Endrin solution 200 ng/μL in isooctane 48976 Supelco 10 mL
Heptachlor 49041 Supelco 1000 mg
Heptachlor solution 100 ng/μL in methanol 31211 Fluka 2 mL; 10 mL
Hexachlorobenzene 45522 Fluka 250 mg
Hexachlorobenzene solution 1000 ng/μL in acetone 40008 Supelco 1 mg
Hexachlorobenzene -13C6 606332 Aldrich 10 mg
Mirex 36170 Fluka 100 mg
Mirex solution 100ng/μL in acetonitrile 45887 Fluka 10 mL
Toxaphene PS79 Supelco 1000 mg
Toxaphene solution 500ng/μL in methanol 48243 Supelco 1 mL
4,4’-DDT 31041 Fluka 100 mg
4,4’-DDT 100ng/μL in methanol 36662 Fluka 2 mL
4,4’-DDT-d8 34021 Fluka 10 mg
Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (“dioxins”) For a complete list of Dioxin standards available at Sigma- Aldrich please see:
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) For a complete list of PCB standards available at Sigma-Aldrich please see:

Table 1Standards for the first series of banned persistent organic pollutants (“dirty dozen”)


Figure 1 Structures of some of the persistent organic pollutants recently added to the list of banned chemicals


Sigma-Aldrich provides analytical standards for the hazardous chemicals targeted by the Stockholm Convention. Tables 1 and 2 list standards (neats and solutions) and, if available, isotopically marked standards suitable for the analysis of persistent organic pollutants.

Product Name Prod. No. Brand Pack Size
Lindane 45548 Fluka 250 mg
Lindane solution 200 ng/μL in isooctane 48960-U Supelco 10 mL
Lindane -13C6 606715 Aldrich on demand
α-Hexachlorocyclohexane 33856 Fluka 100 mg
α-Hexachlorocyclohexane solution 100 ng/μL in methanol 36658 Fluka 2 mL
β-Hexachlorocyclohexane 33376 Fluka 100 mg
β-Hexachlorocyclohexane solution 100 ng/μL in methanol 36584 Fluka 2 mL
*2,2‘,4,4‘,5-Pentabromodiphenylether (BDE-99) solution 50 ng/μL in isooctane 33676 Fluka 1 mL
Chlordecone 45379 Fluka 250 mg
Pentachlorobenzene 35886 Fluka 1 g
Pentachlorobenzene solution 200 ng/μL in methanol 48386 Supelco 1 mL
Perfluoroctane sulphonate 33827 Fluka 100 mg
Perfluoroctane sulphonate solution 100 ng/μL in methanol 33607 Fluka 1 mL

Table 2 Standards for the second series of banned persistent organic pollutants


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