Utilizing Solid Phase Extraction to Overcome Contamination and Recovery Challenges when Extracting Perfluorinated Compounds from Drinking Water and Wastewater

Characterization of Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in the Environment
Oral Presentation

Prepared by M. Ebitson1, J. Neifeld2, M. Ebitson1
1 - Biotage, 16 Northwestern Dr, Salem, NH, 03079, United States
2 - Biotage, 10430 Harris Oaks Blvd, Charlotte, NC, 28269, United States

Contact Information: michael.ebitson@biotage.com; 603-386-3656


Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a group of compounds that have been used in a wide array of industrial and household applications, including fabric protectors, non-stick coatings for cookware, coatings for food packaging and in some fire-fighting foams. Due to the strength of the carbon-fluorine bonds within the molecule, PFCs are highly resistant to degradation even when metabolized or exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Their persistence in the environment allows them to accumulate in water sources, particularly those used for consumption.

Exposure to perfluorinated compounds has been found to negatively impact the health of the consumer, which motivated the U.S. EPA to add these compounds to the list of chemicals that are monitored in drinking water. The EPA has outlined a method for extracting and quantifying those analytes from drinking water in Method 537. One of the biggest challenges when tackling this application is in minimizing interferences and opportunities for contamination during sample preparation and analysis. As PFCs are highly stable and non-reactive, they have become commonly used materials for equipment parts and laboratory supplies.

This work will demonstrate the use of a cartridge-based extraction system to extract and quantify up to 24 PFC compounds in drinking water to highlight the challenges associated with this application. The work will emphasize a number of potential pitfalls that analysts face – including blank interferences, system interferences and carryover effects – along with tips for troubleshooting those interferences and avoiding them during future analyses.