Authentication of synthetic environmental contaminants and their (bio)transformation products in toxicology: polychlorinated biphenyls as an example

Xueshu Li, Erika B. Holland, Wei Feng, Jing Zheng, Yao Dong, Isaac N Pessah, Michael W. Duffel, Larry W. Robertson, Hans Joachim Lehmler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Toxicological studies use “specialty chemicals” and, thus, should assess and report both identity and degree of purity (homogeneity) of the chemicals (or toxicants) under investigation to ensure that other scientists can replicate experimental results. Although detailed reporting criteria for the synthesis and characterization of organic compounds have been established by organic chemistry journals, such criteria are inconsistently applied to the chemicals used in toxicological studies. Biologically active trace impurities may lead to incorrect conclusions about the chemical entity responsible for a biological response, which in turn may confound risk assessment. Based on our experience with the synthesis of PCBs and their metabolites, we herein propose guidelines for the “authentication” of synthetic PCBs and, by extension, other organic toxicants, and provide a checklist for documenting the authentication of toxicants reported in the peer-reviewed literature. The objective is to expand guidelines proposed for different types of biomedical and preclinical studies to include a thorough authentication of specialty chemicals, such as PCBs and their derivatives, with the goal of ensuring transparent and open reporting of scientific results in toxicology and the environmental health sciences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16508-16521
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number17
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Authentication
  • Congener specific analysis
  • Gas chromatography
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Purity
  • Reproducibility
  • Scientific rigor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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