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Determination of selected phthalates by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry in mural paintings from Palermo (Italy)

  • Authors: Orecchio, S.; Indelicato, R.; Barreca, S.
  • Publication year: 2013
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: Mural paintings, Phthalates, GC-MS, Restore, Construction
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Phthalate esters for decades, and probably even now, were used as softeners in water-based paintings. In general, these compounds are dangerous owing to their carcinogenicity and reproductive effects. Phthalates are not chemically but only physically bound to the matrices, hence, they may be leached into the environment and are ubiquitously found in environmental matrices. Considering that, construction is one of most importantfields in Europe, and probably worldwide, with respect to its economic, technological and environmental impact. In the present work the phthalate esters content of several mural paintings was evaluated by gas chromatography– mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Because, this issue is especially important to ensure proper security measurements during processes that could involve particulate inhalation, the total concentrations of 15 compounds in the analyzed mural paintings, ranged from 0.8 to 236 mg/Kg d.w. with anaverage of 39.4 mg/Kg d.w. The highest concentration was found in a mural painting sampled in an apartment built about 50 years ago, though, building age was not significantly correlated with the levels of total and single PAEs. Among the monitored phthalates, only four (bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, diisobutyl phthalate, Di-n-butyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate) were detected in appreciable quantities. Benzyl butyl phthalate was relevant only for one sample and, at trace levels, only for two samples. In all tested mural paintings, except two samples, predominates the bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) (from 30 to 100% of total). In general, occasionally, dinonyl phthalate (DNP) was used as an alternative to DEHP, however, in our case, its occurrence was not found. Diisobutyl phthalate (DiBP) was detected in seven samples and ranged from 0.17 to 13.2 mg/Kg d.w.