PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, and Gen-X. Recent estimates suggest that there are at least 6,000 variants of polyfluorinated, linear and branched compounds. Concern for perfluorinated organic compounds (PFCs) and PFAS have increased dramatically in recent years. The health risks are becoming well known across the globe. PFAS compounds have been linked to low infant birth weights, effects on the immune system, cancer (for PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS). Also under investigation are chemical precursors and telomers developed by industry. Human exposure to PFAS compounds comes from a wide variety of sources, including food packaging materials, commercial household products, workplace environments such as the electronics industry, drinking water sources and living organisms in which these substances have been shown to accumulate and persist over time.
Thermo Fisher Scientific has the products and applications experience to help you achieve optimal analysis for PFAS compounds. Though analyzed for many years, recent developments have resulted in the need to quantify PFAS compounds for potential compliance monitoring in public water bodies to protect human consumption. Examples of methods developed by the U.S. EPA for drinking water are 537, and 537.1. Validated methods developed for additional water matrices include EPA 8327 and ASTM 7979. Due to the large number of possible PFAS compounds and lack of standards, PFAS analysis often involves screening unknowns. In such cases HRAM methods are the tool of choice. For example, the Thermo Scientific Orbitrap mass analyzer technology delivers a total possible maximum resolution (FWHM) of 1,000,000 at m/z 200 and a sub-1 ppm mass accuracy in a single, compact and easy-to-use instrument. These systems detect a wide range of compounds and small molecules during both targeted and untargeted analyses, without losing selectivity or sensitivity.