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PFC Testing in Water

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Eurofins Eaton Analytical's PFC Testing Capabilities

What are PFCs?

In May of 2016 the USEPA issued final Health Advisories for Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). These two long-chained Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs), also known as Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are part of a larger suite of highly soluble and environmentally persistent compounds prevalent in industrial applications and consumer products.

Industrial Applications Consumer Products
Surfactants for plastics production Stain Repellants on fabrics
Firefighter Foam Nonstick Surfaces on cookware

The new USEPA Health Advisories are set at 0.07 ug/L for either PFOS or PFOA individually or combined. These Health Advisories were set based on lifetime exposure and health effects on all populations, including sensitive populations. Other States have also established their own guidance values for PFOS and/or PFOA and many are being re-evaluated in light of the USEPA Health Advisory.

State PFOS (ug/L) PFOA (ug/L)
Illinois 0.2 0.4
Maine 0.1 0.06
Michigan 0.012 0.42
Minnesota 0.006 0.61
New Jersey   0.04
North Carolina   2
Vermont   0.02

Existing national occurrence data for PFOS, PFOA and other PFCs are based on results from EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR3) which was a national data gathering effort of public water systems in 2013-15. The following PFCs were included in the UCMR3 survey:

Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS)
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
Perfluoro-n-nonanoic Acid (PFNA)
Perfluoro-1-hexanesulfonic Acid (PFHxS)
Perfluoroheptanoic Acid (PFHpA)
Perfluoro-1-butanesulfonic Acid (PFBS)

Data from the UCMR3 indicates that more than 60 public water supplies had entry point samples exceeding the Health Advisories for PFOS and/or PFOA. 

With the Health Advisory issuance, USEPA is asking the States to follow up with vulnerable water systems to conduct confirmation monitoring (based on their UCMR3 data) and/or take steps to minimize exposure, which may include suspension of the water source and/or implementing treatment (activated carbon, reverse osmosis or blending).


Eurofins Eaton Analytical has analyzed over 10,000 samples from approximately 1800 public water system customers during the 2013-2015 UCMR3 monitoring period. In response to the EPA issued Health Advisories for PFOS and PFOA, we are analyzing over 1,000 samples per month for several projects, including: 

Public Water Systems

Based on UCMR3 data for PFCs, approximately 1.3% of public water systems (65) had entry point samples that exceeded the Health Advisories for PFOS and/or PFOA. Many of these same utilities either used or have selected Eurofins Eaton Analytical to perform their post-UCMR3 monitoring to confirm concentrations for both entry point and well samples.

PFOS-PFOA has been detected at 5 ng/L in 37 states and territories

United States Military

All military installations in the United States and abroad have undertaken a data gathering effort to determine PFC concentrations in owned or purchased water sources. Eurofins Eaton Analytical has existing contracts to support international troop locations and we have analyzed close to 5000 samples from abroad. We are also actively working with locations within the United States and its territories to provide PFC testing and are presently working with more than 50 base locations.

Private Consulting Firms

In response to very high PFC concentrations in water systems serving communities in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, Eurofins Eaton Analytical has been contracted to provide source and post-treatment analysis of more than 2,000 samples for PFCs to verify removal efficiency of home treatment units. Our analytical work supporting consultants has also extended to New Jersey where Eurofins Eaton Analytical is contracted to perform testing in collaboration with Federal & State investigators evaluating contamination impacts on local public water systems.

Analytical Method

Eurofins Eaton Analytical performs PFC analysis by EPA Method 537 v1.1 which uses Solid-Phase extraction (SPE) with liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) analysis. Samples are collected in 250 mL plastic bottles fitted with a plastic screw-cap. All sample containers include 5 grams/L of Trizma which serves as a buffering agent and to remove free chlorine that may be present in the sample. In addition to sample containers, Eurofins Eaton Analytical also includes supplies for collecting field reagent blanks (FRBs). The FRBs are prepared by Eurofins Eaton Analytical and include an unpreserved container filled with reagent grade water and an empty preserved container to pour the blank water into in the field at the time a sample is collected. FRBs are required by the method but the number of field blanks to collect (for each site, for each representative sample or not at all) is at the discretion of the customer and/or regulator overseeing the project.

Analytical Citation EPA 537 v1.1
Sample Container (3) 250 mLs poly containers
Preservative Trizma
Holding Time Sample 14 days
Holding Time Extract 28 days
Extraction SPE containing SDVB
Elution Methanol
Analysis LC/MS/MS
Surrogates 13c-PFHxA, 13c-PFDA
Internal Standards 13c-PFOS, 13c-PFOA

In September of 2016, EPA issued a Technical Advisory informing of the possible under-reporting of PFOA when adhering to EPA 537 as originally written and recommending expansion of the integration window to account for branched isomers of PFOA. Many of the PFCs can occur in the environment as both branched and linear isomers. However, only a linear standard is currently available for PFOA. The original EPA-approved method did not account for both types of isomers because doing so requires chromatographic peak integration of samples to be calibrated in the same way as the calibration standard, resulting in a limited integration window.

Eurofins Eaton Analytical now includes branched PFOA isomers in the quantitation of PFOA.  We can quantify and report the following PFCs:

 Analyte CAS #
MRL (ug/L)
Low Level
MRL (ug/L)
Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) 1763-23-1 0.04 0.0025
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) 335-67-1 0.02 0.0025
Perfluoro-n-nonanoic Acid (PFNA) 375-95-1 0.02 0.0025
Perfluoro-1-hexanesulfonic Acid (PFHxS) 355-46-4 0.03 0.0025
Perfluoroheptanoic Acid (PFHpA) 375-85-9 0.01 0.0025
Perfluoro-1-butanesulfonic Acid (PFBS) 375-73-5 0.09 0.0025
Perflurobutanoic (PFBA)1 375-22-4 ----- 0.010
Perfluorodecanoic Acid (PFDA) 335-76-2 ----- 0.0025
Perfluorododecanoic Acid (PFDoDA) 307-55-1 ----- 0.0025
Perfluorohexanoic Acid (PFHxA) 307-24-4 ----- 0.0025
Perfluorotetradecanoic Acid (PFTeDA) 376-06-7 ----- 0.0025
Perfluorotridecanoic Acid (PFTrDA) 72629-94-8 ----- 0.0025
Perfluoroundecanoic Acid (PFUnDA) 2058-94-8 ----- 0.0025
N-ethylperfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic Acid (NEtFOSAA) 2991-50-6 ----- 0.004
N-methylperfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic Acid (NMeFOSAA) 2355-31-9 ----- 0.004