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Presented by Charles Neslund,Technical Director, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental
What are PFAS Substances?
Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) or Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) are a large group of manufactured compounds that are widely used as surfactants in industrial applications and are also used heavily in Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF) firefighting products. PFAS compounds demonstrate unique chemical characteristics that make them persistent in the environment and bioaccumulative in wildlife. Their water solubility enhances the presence of PFAS compounds in water. Due to their chemical resistence and biological persistence several PFCs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in particular, have been named in the Stockholm Convention as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
PFAS Testing Capabilities and Capacity
Eurofins Environment Testing US laboratories participated in the UCMR program, and hold certification with the Department of Defense (DoD) ELAP program and state accreditations for per- and polyfluorinated chemical analysis that follow QSM 5.1 protocol. We were one of the first to have experience with Method 537 version 1.1 as we worked with EPA on the validation.
We perform analytical services on varied environmental matrices including drinking water, groundwater, soil, sediment, tissue, biosolids, and consumer products using LC/MS/MS and HRMS technologies in support of trace level reporting of emerging contaminants. Within our isolated PFAS laboratory, we run four dedicated systems over two shifts giving us unmatched capacity for any project size. Data can be provided in a Level II, III or IV Data Deliverable format to accommodate unique projects. We follow the EPA protocol to report branched and linear isomers.
Our depth of knowledge, redundancy of systems and state-of-the-art facilities are key to our success in supporting the PFAS market. Eurofins’ reinvestment in the business ensures that we continue to offer highly sensitive methods, low reporting limits and compliance with method protocols meeting regulatory guidance.
Total Oxidizable Precursors (TOP) Analysis
TOP analysis is an analytical tool to determine the hidden or unknown mass of PFAS compounds in a sample. Water, soil, sediment and biota are treated with persulfate, hydroxide and heating to create a hydroxyl radical oxidation. This process converts polyfluorinated precursors to the more recalcitrant perfluorinated forms like PFOA and/or PFOS. When the oxidation is complete, the PFAS compounds are extracted in the normal fashion and identified employing isotope dilution LC/MS/MS.
AFFF materials treated by the TOP assay have been shown to reveal additional PFAS compounds that can comprise of up to 70% of the fluorinated organics in the sample. The combination of the TOP analysis and the standard suite of PFAS compounds gives a more complete characterization of the PFAS compounds present in the sample.
The term GenX represents a process that uses hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) as a safer alternative to the use of PFOA. The dimer acid (HFPO-DA) is what has been referred to as GenX and has been detected in drinking water and food products. It is considered an emerging contaminant to be studied. Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental performed method development on the extraction and detection of GenX and offers its testing in water and soil matrices.
PFAS Compound List
|4:2 fluorotelomersulfonate||4:2 FTS|
|6:2 fluorotelomersulfonate||6:2 FTS|
|8:2 fluorotelomersulfonate||8:2 FTS|
|N-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic acid||NEtFOSAA|
|N-methyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic acid||NMeFOSAA|