Estimating Suspect PFAS Concentrations
May 30 2023
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a group of man-made chemicals that have been widely used in consumer products for decades. Due to their persistence in the environment and potential health effects, there is growing concern over their presence in soil, water, and other environmental matrices.
Estimating suspect PFAS concentrations is essential in identifying areas of potential contamination and determining the need for further investigation or remediation. To accomplish this task, various analytical instruments and techniques are available, each with its own strengths and limitations.
One of the most used instruments for analysing PFAS is liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This technique separates and identifies individual PFAS compounds based on their chemical properties and mass-to-charge ratios. LC-MS/MS can provide high sensitivity and selectivity, making it an ideal choice for detecting low levels of PFAS in environmental samples.
Another technique that is frequently employed in estimating PFAS concentrations is gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). GC-MS is particularly useful for analysing volatile PFAS, such as perfluoro carboxylic acids (PFCAs) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFASs), which can be challenging to detect using other techniques.
In addition to these two instruments, there are several other methods for estimating suspect PFAS concentrations, such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ion chromatography, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Each of these techniques has its own advantages and limitations, and the choice of method depends on the specific application and sample matrix.
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