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Migrating components in a polyurethane laminating adhesive identified using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry


T. C. Schmidt, Instrumental Analytical Chemistry, University Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstr. 5, 45141 Essen, Germany.




Plastics are increasingly used as packaging materials for pharmaceuticals. However, diffusion of compounds in plastic into drugs may endanger patients' health. Regulatory authorities therefore demand detailed information about leachable compounds in plastics. Here we identify migrating components of a sterilization-resistant polyurethane (PUR) adhesive used in the primary packaging for an aqueous pharmaceutical. This identification is an essential first step for quantification and toxicological evaluation of the compounds.


We used various hyphenated mass spectrometry (MS) methods: gas chromatography (GC/MS) with either electron impact ionization or chemical ionization, and high resolution liquid chromatography (LC/MS) with electrospray ionization.


Of the 13 migrating substances detected, 11 are cyclic esters with characteristic fragmentation schemes apparent from their mass spectra. These esters are formed as by-products during the reaction of adipic and isophthalic acid with monoethylene glycol and diethyelene glycol. A cyclic ester of isophthalic acid and tetraethylene glycol and a product of the reaction of isophoron diisocyanate with methanol were clearly identified.


Complementary use of several hyphenated mass spectrometric methods enables successful identification of leachable compounds in the PUR adhesive under study. This opens the way for quantification and evaluation of the potential toxicities of these compounds. Despite the range of compositions of PUR laminates, the approach presented here may be applicable for the qualitative assessment of all PURs. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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