Advances of Official Methods for PFAS Analysis Using SPE and HPLC-MS/MS

Collaborative Efforts to Improve Environmental Monitoring
Oral Presentation

Prepared by A. Leitzke
MACHEREEY-NAGEL, Valencienner Strasse 11, Dueren, NRW, 52355, Germany

Contact Information: [email protected]; 020-421-9690


More than 4730 compounds1 belong to the group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that have been produced since the 1940s. Due to their toxicity, several analytical methods have been developed over the last decades. Worldwide, continuous regulatory activities and other initiatives are being implemented e.g. the PFAS Action Plan.2 This development of new methods is ongoing and driven by an increasing analyte portfolio, improved procedures and transfer to a wider variety of matrices.
In 2009, PFAS analysis started with US EPA method 537, that focused on the analysis of 14 PFAS in drinking water, followed by update 537.1 (2018) which included 4 additional PFAS analytes.
Due to a new objective (short chain PFAS), another regulation was published. The US EPA 533 method is groundbreaking for future regulations and based on an SPE enrichment with weak ion exchanger. It expands the analysis portfolio to 25 PFAS (11 short chain PFAS).
In 2019, a methodology for high-throughput analysis of groundwater (contaminated especially with PFOA and PFOS) was created. Despite its very good sensitivity, this direct injection approach is known to be unsuitable for samples with very low-level analysis requirements (i.e., single digit ng/L).
With the latest draft of US EPA method 1633, a further advance in PFAS analysis is currently being presented, offering an expanded analyte portfolio and an improved cleaning process via ion exchange SPE to avoid interferences.
The presentation highlights advantages as well as goals of each method and introduces SPE and HPLC product solutions for PFAS analysis.
MACHEREY-NAGEL is a German company, founded in 1911, that manufactures a wide range of chromatography consumables e.g. HPLC/GC/SPE columns.

[1] OECD: Toward a New Comprehensive Global Database of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs): Summary Report on Updating the OECD 2007 List of PFASs, Series on Risk Management, No. 39, ENV/JM/MONO(2018)7.