Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) are a group of volatile organic compounds that are ubiquitous in the environment due to numerous anthropogenic sources. Exposure to BTEX poses a health hazard by increasing the risk for damage to multiple organs, neurocognitive impairment and birth defects. Urinary BTEX metabolites are useful biomarkers for the evaluation of BTEX exposure, because of the ease of sampling and their longer physiological half-lives compared with parent compounds. A method that utilizes LC–MS/MS was developed and validated for simultaneously monitoring of 10 urinary BTEX metabolites. During the sample preparation an aliquot of urine was diluted with an equal volume of 1% formic acid; internal standard solution was added, and then the sample was centrifuged and analyzed. The analytes were separated on the Kinetex-F5 column by applying a linear gradient, consisting of 0.1% formic acid and methanol. The method was validated according to the FDA Bioanalytical Method Validation Guidance for Industry. The mean method's accuracies of the spiked matrix were 81–122%; the inter-day precision ranged from 4 to 20%; the limits of quantitation were 0.5–2 μg/L. The method was used for the evaluation of baseline levels of urinary BTEX metabolites in 87 firefighters.
- BTEX, LC–MS/MS