You can only imagine the hundreds of thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to in everyday life. You might be surprised to find out that not all of the chemicals found in your shampoos, cosmetics or even water bottles are listed on the bottle. This is because there are impurities from the byproducts of certain goods that can be found in small amounts. One of these impurities is a compound called 1,4 dioxane. Dioxane is a suspected carcinogen with many other short and long term effects from exposure. The goal of our experiment is to develop a method of measuring 1,4 dioxane that does not take as long as using the GC/MS. We will compare the quantitative abilities of cyclic voltammetry to GC/MS.
The GC/MS takes about thirty minutes to run a single sample. As you can see this is why we would like to find a method that takes less time. So far, we have established a method and an Rf value for using the GC/MS. The method includes an internal standard, a surrogate standard and a sample. The internal standard is composed of deuterated tetrahydrofuran (THF) and it is used to standardize our injections and obtain the Rf value. The Rf value is obtained from a linear trend line of known concentrations and areas and used as our “ruler” as you could say to predict the concentrations of the samples once we know the areas of the peaks from the chromatogram. The surrogate standard is made from 1,4 dioxane-d8 and will soon be used to quantify the % return that we obtain from solid phase extraction. After we find the percent return we could like to start running samples from consumer products.
When using cyclic voltammetry a voltage can be applied to a solution causing the compound with in the solution to undergo a redox reaction. If a voltage is applied to 1,4 dioxane the electrons will separate from the compound and enter the circuit causing an increase in current. If the concentration of dioxane increases, the more available species there are to lose electrons. Therefore, as the concentration of the species increases the current will increase as well. Trends correlating concentration in relation to the measured current can then be applied to unknown concentrations. Using this technique, a practical methodology should be able to be developed to accurately measure concentration of dioxane within the environment and consumer products. Our team is currently experimenting on a variety of methods to optimize the analysis of 1,4 dioxane using cyclic voltammetry.