Quadrupole HRMS for Quantification and Screening of PFAS in EPA 537.1 and 533

Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Environment - Session 5
Oral Presentation

Presented by E. Parry
Prepared by T. Anumol1, R. Hindle2, J. Pyke1
1 - Agilent, 2850 Centerville Road, Wilmington, DE, 19808, United States
2 - Vogon Laboratory Services, , , United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 302-419-8909


Per/Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have uniquely desirable properties for use in various industries. However, their wide-ranging use leads to emission into the environment, and their persistent and bioaccumulative properties are a concern in the environment.
Traditionally, methods such as USEPA 533, 537 and ASTM 7979 are designed to monitor a small and discrete number of PFAS compounds using tandem quadrupole LC/MS. These methods strive to analyze PFAS at low ng/L levels but can be laborious, time-consuming and limited in scope. However, the total fluorinated compounds in a sample may be underestimated by not monitoring the precursor compounds of which these compounds are formed from. Sample preparation techniques such as the Total Oxidizable Precursor (TOP) Assay attempt to measure the total fluorinated compounds by forcing degradation of precursors into measurable end-products. However, this technique is time consuming and may not degrade all precursors into measurable end-products. Additionally, some countries decided to phase out specific classes of PFAS manufacturing and use, which has led manufactures to find alternative classes of PFAS, leading to new precursors and degradation products being found in environmental samples.
Identifying PFAS precursors present in an environmental sample may impact decisions in treatment processes at remediation sites and help deduce possible degradation products that could exist in the environment. Consequently, scientists are interested in looking at several of the thousands of other PFAS that may be present. Traditional instruments, such as LC-MS/MS technology, are targeted to quantify commonly monitored PFAS end-products. This study evaluated methods 537.1 and 533 with a quadrupole-high resolution mass spectrometer (HRMS) to evaluate the efficacy of running these methods and meeting performance criteria for quantitative analysis of PFAS. Additionally, data will be shown on identification of other PFAS compounds using suspect and non-target screening using the HRMS technique. We will present method performance criteria for quantification of PFAS like spike recoveries, reproducibility, accuracy and blank evaluation seen in the lab and also an evaluation of the additional PFAS identified using non-target workflows.