Solutions for PFAS Testing

Workflows and instruments for reliable PFAS analysis

As knowledge about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) grows, detecting these chemicals in environmental samples has become critical. PFAS contamination, often in the form of PFOA or PFOS, can be determined by one of several US EPA PFAS methods including Methods 533 and 537 for the determination of PFAS in drinking water and OTM-45 to test for PFAS in air emissions.

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Workflows for PFAS detection in environmental samples

The detection and quantification of known PFAS and the discovery of unknown PFAS substances has never been more important. Determining the best workflow for your PFAS analysis can be challenging. Optimal methods will vary depending on the matrix you are working with and goals of your analysis. Discover strategies to help you with either targeted analysis of known PFAS compounds or the discovery of unknowns, from a variety of matrices.

Water analysis solutions for PFAS detection

Determination of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water using automated solid-phase extraction and LC-MS/MS for US EPA Method 533

Discover an analytical method using the PFAS-inert Thermo Scientific Dionex AutoTrace 280 PFAS automated solid-phase extraction (SPE) system and LC-MS/MS for determination of 25 PFAS compounds. Full method validation was performed with both reagent water and drinking water. Acceptable low background, LCMRLs, calibration range, coefficient of determination and percent deviation, precision, and accuracy demonstrated that the sample preparation system and UHPLC-MS/MS workflow is an efficient and reliable method to fulfill US EPA Method 533 requirements. The Dionex AutoTrace 280 PFAS system provides reliable determination of PFAS in large-volume aqueous samples and saves time, solvent, and labor, while ensuring high reproducibility and productivity for analytical testing laboratories.

Determination of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water using automated solid-phase extraction and LC-MS/MS

Determine 18 PFAS in drinking water with a PFAS-safe Thermo Scientific Dionex AutoTrace 280 Solid-Phase Extraction (SPE) system and LC-MS/MS. The extraction system ensures inertness and prevents PFAS from leaching into sample during extraction, while delivering consistent and reliable performance. The calculated LCMRLs ranged from 0.20 to 3.5 ng/L and the MDLs ranged from 0.30 to 2.5 ng/L. Thermo Scientific LC-MS/MS in combination with the Dionex AutoTrace 280 PFAS SPE system demonstrated an efficient, reliable, and sensitive method to fulfill the requirements of US EPA Method 537.1.

Secondary validation study for EPA Method 537.1 using automated SPE followed by LC-Q Exactive Orbitrap MS

Benefit from the quantitative performance of the Thermo Scientific Q Exactive Orbitrap mass spectrometer for the determination of PFAS in drinking water. This application note describes the quantitation of selected PFAS compounds in reagent and drinking water using a rugged, reproducible method, which demonstrates the excellent quantitative performance and enhanced selectivity and specificity offered when using the Q Exactive Orbitrap mass spectrometer in PRM mode for EPA Method 537.1.

Direct analysis of selected per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in ground, surface, and wastewater by LC-MS/MS

Learn about the quantitative performance of the Thermo Scientific TSQ Altis mass spectrometer for direct analysis of PFAS in the low ng/L range. This application note describes a direct analysis method for the determination of a list of 24 PFAS in a wide variety of non-drinking water matrices. The data was used for the validation of a new method, EPA 8327, for these water matrices as part of an inter-laboratory study sponsored by the EPA Office of Water. PFAS compounds were detected in the different water matrices at both low and high spike concentrations with recoveries within the range required. All spiked water samples showed RSDs below 20% for most of the PFAS compounds, demonstrating the high robustness and reproducibility of the method.

AOF by combustion IC—non-targeted complemental determination of PFAS in aqueous samples

When no surrogate and/or nontargeted methods are used, precursors, degradation/transformation products, and PFASs with no analytical standards may be ignored, according to studies. This results in underestimating the extent of PFAS contamination at affected sites.

Access an automated method developed by scientists at Hessian State Laboratory in Wiesbaden, Germany to determine a range of PFAS by combustion ion chromatography (CIC) in environmental matrices. Automated combustion ion chromatography (CIC), is used to determine organic halogen contaminants. As a complement to existing approaches, this AOF-CIC-method offers an easy-to-use, economical way to generate a cumulative parameter, and can help optimize the utilization LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS instrumentation by selecting and analyzing only “suspicious” samples.

This application supports Draft US EPA Method 1621 .

Analysis of PFAS using a high resolution accurate mass data discovery method for unknown identification

To address the high toxicity of the long-chain PFAS (e.g., perfluorooctanoic acid), some companies have replaced known PFAS with alternative chemicals exhibiting similar properties. These new compounds may also be toxic, although not yet studied. While known PFAS are typically analyzed in a targeted, highly selective QQQ workflow, an unknown screening workflow utilizing high-resolution accurate mass (HRAM) can be used to detect novel PFAS. Learn about a versatile workflow using a full MS/ddMS2 method to analyze complex PFAS datasets using a Thermo Scientific Vanquish Flex Binary UHPLC system paired with a Thermo Scientific Q Exactive Plus Orbitrap mass spectrometer and Thermo Scientific Compound Discoverer software.

Monitoring for Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl (PFAS) with Advanced Mass Spectrometry–Based Methods

Using only targeted analytical methods, the extent of PFAS contamination is often underestimated. Given the health concerns surrounding this group of chemicals, the effective and reliable detection and quantitation of both known and novel compounds remains critical. High resolution accurate mass analysis provides detailed views of PFAS-related water contamination. Learn how scientists at Duke University laboratories implemented advanced analytical methods and instrumentation to address common analytical challenges.

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Soil analysis solutions for PFAS detection

Extraction and analysis of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from soil

Learn about an effective method for extracting 24 PFAS compounds from soil samples using accelerated solvent extraction (ASE), followed by solid-phase extraction (SPE) and LC-MS/MS analysis. In this study, the ASE produced 70-130% recovery of all PFAS target compounds, demonstrating that it is acceptable for extraction of PFAS from 4-carbon to 14-carbon fluoroalkyl chain lengths and five different polar head-groups, from soil over a wide range of concentrations.

What solution is best for my PFAS analysis needs?

The best instruments and workflows for your PFAS analysis depend on your sample matrix and whether require a targeted analysis or need to perform unknown screening. The tables below offer guidance about which systems are right for different sample and workflow types.

Sample preparation solutions

Screening analysis solutions

 Combustion IC SystemTriple quadrupole LC-MSQ Exactive Plus HRAM LC-MSOrbitrap Exploris 120 HRAM LC-MS
 Combustion Ion Chromatography SystemTSQ Altis Triple Quadrupole Mass SpectrometerQ Exactive Plus HRAM LC-MSOrbitrap Exploris 120 HRAM LC-MS
Untargeted screening  
Targeted screeningAnalysis of organofluorines   
Untargeted and targeted quantitation   
Retrospective analysis  
Analysis of unknowns (AcquireX data acquisition workflow) 

PFAS workflow ordering guides

Learn more about ordering the systems, accessories, columns and consumables for LC-MS-based workflows for determining PFAS in water samples.

PFAS analysis webinars

Register to view these informative, educational webinars that give deeper insights into key aspects of PFAS testing.

PFAS analysis videos

Watch these videos to hear how Thermo Fisher Scientific is making it easier to conduct robust analyses of PFAS compounds in environmental samples.

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