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Simultaneous quantitation of seven pyrethroid metabolites in human urine by capillary gas chromatography–mass spectrometry


Correspondence: Dr. Chensheng Lu, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA


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Pyrethroid insecticides are applied in the residential environment, as well as in agricultural crops, for insect control purpose. We developed and validated an accurate, sensitive, and reproducible analytical method to simultaneously detect seven pyrethroid metabolites, namely, 3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethyl-(1-cyclopropane) carboxylic acid, 3-(2,2-dibromovinyl)-2,2-dimethyl-(1-cyclopropane) carboxylic acid, 3-phenoxybenzoic acid, 4-fluoro-3-phenoxybenzoic acid, 2-methyl-3-phenylbenzoic acid, 4-chloro-α-isoproply benzeneacetic acid, and 3-(2-chloro-3,3,3-trifluoroprop-1-enyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid, in human urine. This method employs deconjugation with enzyme, SPE using Agilent C18 cartridges on a RapidTrace SPE workstation, derivatization using hexafluoro isopropanol and N,N′-diisopropylcarbodiimide, and compounds separation and identification on GC–MS. The detection limits of seven metabolites were 0.02–0.08 ng/mL in urine. The recoveries of seven metabolites were 81–104%, 85–99%, and 83–99% in urine specimens fortified at 0.1, 0.4, and 3.2 ng/mL concentrations, respectively. The overall coefficient of variation was 4.3–10.8% in two quality control specimens which were repeatedly measured during a period of 2 months. This method was applied to urine samples collected from children living in Boston, MA. The median concentrations of six detected pyrethroid metabolites ranged from 0.06 to 0.86 ng/mL in urine.

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