Analysis of Per/Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Drinking Water Using the Agilent Ultivo Triple Quadrupole LC/MS

Characterization of Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in the Environment
Oral Presentation

Prepared by , D. Yang

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Per/polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have a range of industrial uses and can be found in various household items and consumer goods. PFASs can have adverse health effects and are extremely persistent in the environment; therefore, the USEPA has public health guidelines in drinking water for two PFASs, perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at 70 ng/L. However, several other PFASs are also used in manufacturing and need to be monitored. To respond to this, a method was developed for the detection of PFAS in drinking water using the Ultivo triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer and a modified high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system. Several different classes of PFASs including perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs), perfluorosulfonic acids (PFSAs), fluorotelomer alcohols (FTAs), fluorotelomer sulfonates (FTSs) and others were separated on a liquid chromatograph (LC) using a reversed phase C-18 column (2.1x50 mm). Since fluoropolymers are used in all LC systems, a delay column was employed to avoid PFAS background contamination. The compounds were analyzed in negative electrospray ionization using the Ultivo triple quadrupole LC/MS in dynamic multiple reaction monitoring (DMRM) mode. All analytes were detected rapidly (in less than 17 min) at levels lower than specified by US EPA Method, with RSD% less than 6% over 26 hours at 1ppb. Linear calibration curves with R2 >0.99 were obtained for all 17 PFASs. The Ultivo Triple Quadrupole LC/MS detected the presence of PFASs below the most stringent US state requirements, suggesting that the method provides good sensitivity and robustness for the analysis of real water samples.