Linking high resolution mass spectrometry data with exposure and toxicity forecasts to advance high-throughput environmental monitoring

Julia E. Rager, Mark J. Strynar, Shuang Liang, Rebecca L. McMahen, Ann M. Richard, Christopher M. Grulke, John F. Wambaugh, Kristin K. Isaacs, Richard Judson, Antony J. Williams, Jon R. Sobus
  • Environment International, March 2016, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.12.008

Using mass spectrometry and reference databases to identify chemicals in house dust

What is it about?

Thousands of chemicals exist in house dust but to date most studies have focused on a relatively small collection of chemicals. The present study uses an analytical technique called mass spectrometry to identify molecular structures of environmental health relevance. A modest number of compounds in this proof-of-concept study were ultimately confirmed to be present in dust, with nearly half not previously associated with dust in the published literature.

Why is it important?

Considering the findings in this proof of concept study it is likely that scaled-up efforts, involving a more inclusive reference database, a larger number of standards, and optimized analytical methods would aid in identifying (and potentially quantifying) hundreds of previously unstudied chemicals in dust and other media.


Dr Antony John Williams
United States Environmental Protection Agency

The experiences learned by using ChemSpider and our own EPA Comptox Chemistry Dashboard (, as reported in this article, helped define new functionality we would need to add to support non-targeted analysis. it Specifically this work helped us understand better approaches to rank-ordering the hit list searches.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Antony John Williams and Dr John Fredrick Wambaugh