Green Analytical Chemistry Through Flow Analysis
Green analytical chemistry has shown consistent growth, pushed by the increased conscience of researchers and analysts in relation to the wastes generated in analytical laboratories. Independently of their analytical performance, methods that are not environmentally friendly will become unacceptable in the near future. The development of flow analysis has contributed to minimizing the impact of analytical activities but its potential has not been fully exploited, opening a promising research field. This chapter aims to demonstrate the evolution of flow analysis towards green analytical chemistry by the replacement of hazardous reagents, reuse of chemicals and waste minimization. This development has been implemented without hindering the fundamental analytical figures of merit. Better analytical performance has been achieved in some applications, such as the improvement of sensitivity, making it feasible to avoid time-consuming preconcentration steps that generate additional amounts of waste. Reagent-free procedures, analyte extraction with insignificant amounts of solvent and reuse of chemicals have also been made possible by means of ingenious flow configurations. However, more general alternatives, such as MCFA, SIA, MSFIA and multipumping seem to be more promising to achieve the goals of green analytical chemistry.