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Environmental / Industrial

Total quality assurance is critical for environmental scientists who seek to identify, monitor, and detect trace chemical compounds and pollutants to meet government, regulatory, and industry standards. Stay ahead on all things PFAS from the latest compounds, analytical challenges, and even regulations. Learn about the workflows and interact with the top researchers in this rapidly evolving field.

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The costly consequences of unplanned downtime

The costly consequences of unplanned downtime

Unplanned downtime is a formidable adversary that businesses across various industries strive to minimize. Defined as the unexpected interruption of regular operations, unplanned downtime can wreak havoc on productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction. In this article, we delve into the causes of unplanned downtime, its far-reaching consequences and strategies to mitigate its impact.

Take out the PFAS in our takeout

Take out the PFAS in our takeout

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were first detected in wildlife1 and oceanic waters2 in the early 2000s. Recently, however, these chemicals have been found in school uniforms,3 cosmetics4 and food contact materials,5 shifting what was initially considered an environmental issue to a public health crisis. As concerns have grown about the toxicological impact of long-term PFAS exposure on human health, questions about food-borne exposure have surged, especially since these chemicals are used in disposable food packaging materials, non-stick cookware and even in food processing machinery.

The secrets of recycling: PFAS and 6PPD

The secrets of recycling: PFAS and 6PPD

Recycling and reusing items is generally accepted as the “right” thing to do. But what if there were unintended, negative consequences to recycling? For example, old car tires are often ground down and reused for synthetic turf, with roughly 40,000 tires used per field.1 However, car tires contain the chemical 6PPD,5 which is converted by ozone to a quinone compound 6PPD-quinone (6PPD-Q) and enters river systems where it is toxic to coho salmon. In addition, some studies have detected per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS)— the” forever chemicals”—in artificial turf,1,4 which means it may be a source of PFAS found in nearby water supplies and potentially in drinking water.

Telling the PFAS story with pine needles

Telling the PFAS story with pine needles

As an ever-expanding group of chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) require novel techniques to monitor their current and historical presence in the environment. Concerns over exposure to PFAS chemicals continue to grow, with some having known toxic characteristics and the potential effects of others remaining unknown.1 In addition, while PFAS are one of the most persistent synthetic chemicals to date, most of them hardly degrade in the environment.2 So, how long do traces of PFAS last in our environment? Two tools used to help answer this question are active samplers and passive samplers.

Back to the new basics: Part 3 | LC vs. LC-MS and what it means for your lab

Back to the new basics: Part 3 | LC vs. LC-MS and what it means for your lab

In this final installment of our “Back to the new basics” series, we take one more look at analytical techniques and best practices in the lab, and opportunities to improve efficiency. Here, we explore the basic principles of high-performance liquid chromatography (LC) and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS), and how these techniques can affect a lab’s efficiency and productivity.

The hidden ingredient in anti-fog sprays: PFAS

The hidden ingredient in anti-fog sprays: PFAS

A recent study led by researchers from Duke University, conducted with colleagues from Wayne State University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, found that four of the top-rated anti-fog sprays contained up to 20.7 milligrams of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) per milliliter of solution. This study has received a lot of exposure in popular media, and it should not be overlooked. The researchers used several creative approaches to obtain a comprehensive characterization of the anti-fog sprays, including using total organic fluorine measurements, GC-MS methods and both nominal mass and accurate mass instruments. A unique finding of the study was the detection of fluorotelomer ethoxylates (FTEOs), which are relatively unknown PFAS compounds.

Back to the new basics: Part 2 | Do I need a single quadrupole or a triple quadrupole system?

Back to the new basics: Part 2 | Do I need a single quadrupole or a triple quadrupole system?

In this second installment of our 3-part “Back to the new basics” series, we continue to look at ways to improve lab productivity by using efficient techniques. The number of instrument options out there can be mind-boggling. Finding the right instrument—one that offers varying degrees of sensitivity, selectivity and specificity to meet your analytical needs—can be an intimidating challenge.

Previously unknown group of PFAS compounds detected near Solvay manufacturing site in New Jersey

Previously unknown group of PFAS compounds detected near Solvay manufacturing site in New Jersey

In a recent PFAS fireside chat, Dr. John Washington from the US EPA discussed the findings of a recent study published in Science that detected a novel group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—called chloroperfluoropolyether carboxylates (ClPFPECAs)—in soil samples from New Jersey. The study, conducted by Dr. Washington and his colleagues, detected 10 unique ClPFPECAs in these samples, with the highest concentrations measured near the Solvay manufacturing plant in West Deptford Townhouse, New Jersey, and decreased amounts detected as the distance from the plant increased.

Back to the new basics: Part 3 | LC vs. LC-MS and what it means for your lab

Back to the new basics: Part 1 | Making the leap from GC-MS to LC-MS

Producing accurate results quickly in a demanding environment is no easy feat for analytical scientists. What’s more, many of us are constantly questioning ourselves—I certainly am—about whether we are employing the best technique for the analysis at hand.

It’s an overwhelming thought, considering the wide range of tools that are available to choose from, each of which offers varying levels of capacity, sensitivity, selectivity, specificity and cost. How do you meet the unique needs of your organization without breaking the bank? I get it, and I’m not here to convince you it’s easy. My aim is to guide you through the process to help you make the right decision for you.

PFAS testing: solid phase extraction vs. direct injection methods

PFAS testing: solid phase extraction vs. direct injection methods

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Defense (DoD) methods for testing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water require using solid phase extraction (SPE). SPE has been used extensively in environmental contaminant analysis both for concentrating large sample volumes (improving method sensitivity) and removing matrix interferences (sample cleanup).