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Per and Polyfluoralkyl Substances (PFAs) Analysis

Alpha Analytical has been supporting emerging contaminates monitoring programs for a long time, beginning with the IC/MS/MS analysis of perchlorate back in 2004.  Later on we developed an isotope dilution procedure for the low level analysis of 1,4-dioxane and we now have LC/MS/MS capability for PFAS analysis.  Alpha can analyze up to 24 PFAS compounds utilizing either EPA Method 537 or a proprietary isotope dilution procedure.


PFAS chemical compounds are a class of emerging contaminants that are generating high levels of interest and concern in the environmental community and the public at large.  These compounds have a wide range of industrial uses and commercial product applications and they are present in many consumer products as well.  A short list of general product categories would include industrial polymers, stain repellents, waterproofing products, surfactants, and packaging as well as aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) used for firefighting.   The primary sources of PFAS releases into the environment are industrial facilities where they were used or were contained in raw material feedstocks and sites where AFFF was used for training purposes or actual firefighting.  Another potentially significant source are landfills and wastewater treatment plants.  PFAS compounds are highly soluble in water, chemically stable and persistent.


Regulatory Status

May 2016, the USEPA issued a drinking water health advisory limit (HAL) of 70ng/L (ppt) for two PFAS compounds, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), individually or in combination. To date, the USEPA has not established a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) under the Safe Drinking Water Act for PFOA, PFAS, or other PFAS compounds. Some states have issued state guidelines for specific PFAS compounds.


Analytical Approach

Alpha Analytical utilizes solid phase extraction (SPE) with liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) protocols for PFAS analysis of aqueous samples.  Depending on your project application, PFAS target compound list and regulatory requirements, Alpha will either run EPA Method 537 Rev 1.15 (incorporating the EPA Technical Advisory 815-B-16-021) or a proprietary LC/MS/MS isotope dilution technique.  In either case, both branched and linear PFAS isomers are properly quantified during analysis.  Up to 24 PFAS compounds can be reported with a reporting limit of 2 ng/L.

For more information on this topic, please contact us at  or 800-624-9220 or reach out to your Alpha Analytical Project Manager or Account Service Representative.







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