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Using wastewater monitoring to assess exposure to PFAS

Per-and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are known for their water- and grease-resistant properties, which make them useful in many everyday items. In fact, a study from 2020 estimated over 200 “use categories” covering more than 1,400 individual PFAS compounds in commercial products—they are truly all around us. Due to their extensive presence and potentially harmful effects (these effects are still mostly uncertain), exposure to PFAS is a growing concern. Humans and wildlife have been exposed to these chemicals through a variety of routes, including food packaging, drinking water and cleaning products.

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).

Should you bring your PFAS testing in-house?

As the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulatory landscape evolves in the US and across the globe, the interest in PFAS continues to grow. Drinking water and food packaging are under particular scrutiny, and monitoring programs and requirements will continue to expand to include an increasing variety of sample types and PFAS compounds.