Cloud point extraction combined with electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry for the speciation of antimony(III) and antimony(V) in food packaging materials.
ABSTRACT A simple, sensitive method for the speciation of inorganic antimony by cloud point extraction combined with electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS) is presented and evaluated. The method based on the fact that formation of a hydrophobic complex of antimony(III) with ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (APDC) at pH 5.0 and subsequently the hydrophobic complex enter into surfactant-rich phase, whereas antimony(V) remained in aqueous solutions. Antimony(III) in surfactant-rich phase was analyzed by ETAAS after dilution by 0.2 mL nitric acid in methanol (0.1M), and antimony(V) was calculated by subtracting antimony(III) from the total antimony after reducing antimony(V) to antimony(III) by l-cysteine. The main factors affecting the cloud point extraction, such as pH, concentration of APDC and Triton X-114, equilibrium temperature and incubation time, sample volume were investigated in detail. Under the optimum conditions, the detection limit (3 sigma) of the proposed method was 0.02 ng mL(-1) for antimony(III), and the relative standard deviation was 7.8% (c=1.0 ng mL(-1), n=7). The proposed method was successfully applied to speciation of inorganic antimony in the leaching solutions of different food packaging materials with satisfactory results.