A method based on cloud point extraction (CPE) separation/preconcentration of trace cadmium (Cd) as a prior step to its determination by flame atomic absorption spectrometry has been developed. Cadmium reacted with 8-hydroxyquinoline to form hydrophobic chelates, which were extracted into the micelles of nonionic surfactant oligoethylene glycol monoalkyl ether (Genapol X-080) in an alkaline medium. Octanol was used to depress the cloud point of Genapol X-080 in the extraction process. The chemical variables that affect the CPE, such as pH of complexation reaction, amount of chelating agent, Genapol X-080 and octanol were evaluated and optimized. Under optimized conditions, linearity was obeyed in the range of 10–500 μg/L, with the correlation coefficient of 0.9993. For 5 mL of sample solution, the enhancement factor was about 20. The limit of detection and limit of quantification of the method were 0.21 and 0.63 μg/L, respectively. The relative standard deviations (n = 6) was 3.2% for a solution containing 100 μg/L of Cd. The accuracy of the preconcentration system was evaluated by recovery measurements on spiked water samples. Recoveries of spiked samples varied in the range of 94.1–103.8%.

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