Low Level Detection of 26 Diverse Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Drinking Water Using Solid-Phase Extraction (SPE) and LC-MS/MS Analysis

Characterization of Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in the Environment
Poster Presentation

Prepared by B. Kinsella, B. Bhattarai
UCT Inc., 2731 Bartram Road, Bristol, PA, 19007, United States

Contact Information: bkinsella@unitedchem.com; 215-781-9255


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a diverse group of synthetic organofluorine compounds that contain a fully or partially fluorinated chain. They are widely used in industrial applications and consumer products such as non-stick cookware, food packaging, fire-fighting foams, carpeting, apparels and metal plating. PFASs are persistent in the environment and are extremely resistant to degradation from acids, bases, light and heat. They are known to bioaccumulate in humans and wildlife and have been found to cause reproductive and developmental toxicity in laboratory animals and wildlife. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has issued drinking water health advisories (70 ng/L) for two of the PFASs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). In addition, several US states have guidelines ranging from 20–7,000 ng/L in drinking water. PFASs have historically been analyzed in drinking water according to EPA Method 537. However, due to the ever-increasing number of PFAS residues included in water testing, new approaches are necessary to expand the scope of existing analytical methods.

This poster outlines a simple SPE procedure for the extraction of 26 diverse PFASs in drinking water using polymeric weak-anion exchange (WAX) SPE cartridges. LC-MS/MS analysis was carried out in <10 minutes using a C18 HPLC column. A delay column (5cm) was used to reduce potential PFAS contamination from the HPLC system. The developed method was evaluated by spiking reagent and tap water samples with PFASs at 10 and 100 ng/L. Quantitation of the PFASs was carried out using six mass-labelled internal standards. Overall, excellent recovery, reproducibility and linearity were obtained at the low concentrations tested.