Analytica chimica acta

Assessment of benzophenone-4 reactivity with free chlorine by liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

PMID 22882829


The stability of the UV filter benzophenone-4 (BP-4) in free chlorine-containing water was investigated, for the first time, by liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QqTOF-MS). High mass accuracy and resolution capabilities of this hybrid mass spectrometer were used for the reliable assignation of empirical formulae and chemical structures of BP-4 derivatives. Time-course profiles of the parent compound and its by-products were simultaneously recorded by direct injection of sample aliquots, after quenching the excess of chlorine, in the LC-QqTOF-MS system. At neutral pHs, in excess of chlorine, BP-4 showed a limited stability fitting a pseudo-first-order degradation kinetics. A noticeable reduction in the half-lives of BP-4 was observed when increasing the sample pH between 6 and 8 units and also in presence of bromide traces. The reaction pathway of this UV filter involved a first electrophilic substitution of hydrogen per chlorine (or bromide) in the phenolic ring, followed by oxidation of the carbonyl moiety to an ester group, which induced a further electrophilic substitution in the same aromatic ring. Above reactions were also noticed when mixing a BP-4 containing personal care product with chlorinated tap water and in chlorinated swimming pool and sewage water, previously spiked with a BP-4 standard.

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