Metrolab Blog

Analyzing PFAS: What to know about the “forever chemicals”

First developed in the 1940s, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been used by numerous industrial and commercial sectors to create products with thermal and chemical stability, water resistance and stain resistance. Unfortunately, these PFAS chemicals aren’t good for people or the planet.

Instrumentation provides insights

Awareness of PFAS contamination in the environment first emerged in the late 1990s following developments in tandem LC-MS/MS instrumentation, which enabled low-level target detection. Most regulations have been focused on environmental contamination of PFAS that have leached into water and soil samples from a variety of sources, such as landfills or aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) used to extinguish flammable liquid fires.

9000+ PFAS and more standards needed

The need to analyze PFAS in other matrices is growing rapidly since these chemicals are very stable and readily bioaccumulate in plant and animal tissues. Moreover, there are over 9,000 known PFAS (with more PFAS being actively discovered) and only a very limited number of certified reference standards commercially available for routine targeted analysis.

Choosing an instrument for PFAS testing: What matrices and workflows are relevant to your lab?

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