Detection of halogenated flame retardants in polyurethane foam by particle induced X-ray emission

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The authors would like to acknowledge ICL Industrial Products for donating foam samples with known concentrations of TDCPP. Funding provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF-RUI #0969058 and #1306074, and NSF CAREER CHE-0952768), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (GL00E01116-0) and the Department of Energy (DE-SC0007352).


A novel application of particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) has been developed to detect the presence of chlorinated and brominated flame retardant chemicals in polyurethane foams. Traditional Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) methods for the detection and identification of halogenated flame retardants in foams require extensive sample preparation and data acquisition time. The elemental analysis of the halogens in polyurethane foam performed by PIXE offers the opportunity to identify the presence of halogenated flame retardants in a fraction of the time and sample preparation cost. Through comparative GC-MS and PIXE analysis of 215 foam samples, excellent agreement between the two methods was obtained. These results suggest that PIXE could be an ideal rapid screening method for the presence of chlorinated and brominated flame retardants in polyurethane foams. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.