Improved Method for the Determination of Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) in Drinking Water Using Automated Solid Phase Extraction and LC-MS/MS

Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Environment
Poster Presentation

Prepared by C. Shevlin
Thermo Fisher Scientific, 1214 Oakmead Parkway, Sunnyvale, California, 94085, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 774-402-0647


Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and GenX chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries globally. These compounds have a wide range of commercial product applications including industrial polymers, stain repellents, surfactants, waterproofing products, packaging, and aqueous film forming foams used for firefighting. PFAS are highly soluble in water, chemically stable, persistent in the environment, and can accumulate in human body over time leading to adverse human health effects. PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the U.S. due to their persistence and potential human health risks.
In November 2018, Method 537.1 “Determination of selected per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in drinking water by solid phase extraction and LC/MS/MS”. The method uses an offline solid phase extraction (SPE) with liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to extract, enrich, and determine 18 PFAS in drinking water. Currently most testing laboratories are performing the sample extraction manually using a vacuum manifold, which is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and the flow rate through the cartridge is difficult to control. There is a high demand for automation of the SPE procedure.
In this application note, we discussed the development of an analytical method using an automated SPE system and LC-MS/MS for determination of eighteen PFAS following the guidelines provided by method 537.1.