Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Analysis

Since 2002, SGS AXYS has been pioneering analytical methods in the investigation of PFAS contamination and our application experience and abilities are unparalleled in the industry. Our initial work focused on site investigations, industry initiatives, and litigation around PFAS manufacturing sites in West Virginia and Minnesota and has since expanded to include:

  • Fish consumption advisories
  • Wildlife exposure studies
  • Wastewater treatment plants
  • AFFF site investigations
  • Product testing
  • Human biomonitoring in exposed and ambient populations

We have performed and published significant work regarding PFAS analytical methods, storage stability, limitations, and best practices.  Our method development and validation expertise is used both by industry and regulatory agencies.  We are working with the US-EPA and US DoD on the validation of a definitive isotope dilution PFAS method for waters, solids and tissues. We have worked with industry partners to develop and validate methods for AFFF products that can detect PFOS and PFOA  and other PFAS at as low as 10 ppb.

Isotope Dilution Analysis with some of lowest reporting limits in the industry

Our routine analyte list shown below, encompasses analytes of interest to the EPA, DoD and other regulatory bodies. This is offered in surface/ground water, soil, sediment, wastewater treatment influent, effluents and biosolids, landfill leachates, tissue, AFFF and other industrial products, serum and urine matrices (list expansion in process) and accredited by the US DoD for QSM 5.3 and NELAP and CALA for TNI-2016 and ISO-17025 standards. Isotope dilution and careful control of laboratory background enables us to offer some of the lowest reporting limits in the industry. We have up to 8 LC-MS/MS instruments available for PFAS analysis and routinely process thousands of samples per year for various PFAS methods across multiple matrices. Our lists are ever expanding, so contact us for more information.

FAMILY ANALYTE TYPICAL REPORTING LIMITS
PFCA C4-C14 0.8-3.2 ng/L water

0.08-0.32 ng/g solid

0.2-0.8 ng/g tissue

0.5 ng/mL serum

10-40 ppb products

PFSA C4-C10, C12 0.8 ng/L water

0.08 ng/g solid

0.2 ng/g tissue

1 ng/mL serum

FTS 4:2 FTS

6:2 FTS

8:2 FTS

3.2 ng/L water

0.32 ng/g solid

0.8 ng/g tissue

Sulfonamides EtFOSAA, MeFOSAA, PFOSA, EtFOSA, MeFOSA, EtFOSE and

MeFOSE

0.8-8 ng/L water

0.08-0.8 ng/g solid

0.2-2 ng/g tissue

Ether carboxylates and sulfonates HFPO-DA (GEN-X)

ADONA

F-53B

3.2 ng/L water

0.32 ng/g solid

0.8 ng/g tissue

Total Oxidizable Precursor Assay (TOP)

The TOP assay provides an estimate of unknown PFAS precursor content in a sample by using hydroxyl radical oxidation to convert oxidizable precursors into PFCAs. While not in regulatory use in North America, it can be useful in site characterization, remediation assessment, product testing and more. Our standards-enhanced TOP test uses isotopically-labeled standards to track oxidation efficiency and extraction performance.

Branched Isomer Characterization for Forensics

We offer extended branched isomer characterization for PFOS, PFOA and PFNA to aid forensics analysis. Adding branched isomer characterization helps elucidate PFAS sources and assess contribution of electrochemical fluorination (ECF) PFAS versus telomerization PFAS.

Custom Method Development and Validation

New PFAS, new and challenging matrices, new techniques? We offer comprehensive development and validation to ISO-17025/EPA Tier I to produce methods ready for large-scale analysis. In the last 2 years, SGS AXYS has developed and validated methods for low-level PFAS testing in AFFF foams with the FIrefighting Foam Coalition (FFFC) and is working with the US-EPA and US-DoD on developing the official EPA isotope dilution PFAS method for non-potable water, solids, sediments, WWTP matrices, landfill leachates and tissue.

Project Highlight: SGS AXYS publishes Storage Study

While perfluorinated carboxylates and sulfonates (PFAA) such as PFOA and PFOS are known to be stable under all storage/environmental conditions, it is well known that many other PFAS, including PFAA precursors can transform in the environment from biological and chemical processes. But little was known about their stability in environmental samples sent to laboratory and stored cold.

A team of SGS AXYS scientists including Drs. Million Woudneh, Bharat Chandramouli and Coreen Hamilton have recently published a timely and relevant study “Effect of Sample Storage on the Quantitative Determination of 29 PFAS: Observation of Analyte Interconversions during Storage” (Woudneh, et al. 2019, Env. Sci. Technol) that expands the knowledge of PFAS storage and stability. This study found that under standard laboratory storage conditions of refrigerator storage, precursors, MeFOSE, for example, transformed into other PFAS such as MeFOSAA within 6 days In effluent and surface water samples. We were able to link and correlate these transformations to previously observed biological mechanisms in the field. Samples that were frozen at -20C remained stable through six months of testing. Based on this finding, we recommend freezing of all samples for PFAS analysis upon laboratory receipt until further study into chemical or other preservation techniques has been validated and published.