A novel method based on liquid-liquid extraction with subsequent gas chromatography separation and mass spectrometric detection (GC-MS) for the quantification of organic carbonates in cell culture materials is presented. Method parameters including the choice of extraction solvent, of extraction method and of extraction time were optimised and the method was validated. The setup allowed for determination within a linear range of more than two orders of magnitude. The limits of detection (LODs) were between 0.0002 and 0.002 mmol/L and the repeatability precisions were in the range of 1.5-12.9%. It could be shown that no matrix effects were present and recovery rates between 98 and 104% were achieved. The methodology was applied to cell culture models incubated with commercial lithium ion battery (LIB) electrolytes to gain more insight into the potential toxic effects of these compounds. The stability of the organic carbonates in cell culture medium after incubation was studied. In a porcine model of the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier, it could be shown that a transfer of organic carbonates into the brain facing compartment took place. Graphical abstract Schematic setup for the investigation of toxicity of lithium ion battery electrolytes.