Volatile PFAS in Air: Developing Methods for Targeted Analysis and Discovery of Non-Target Volatile PFAS

Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Environment (Session 2)
Oral Presentation

Prepared by J. Mayser1, N. Shafer2, L. Miles3, C. Widdowson3, C. Gil1, M. Jaimes1, S. Koschinski1
1 - Markes International GmbH, Bieberer Straße 1-7, Offenbach am Main, N/A, 63065, Germany
2 - Markes International Inc., 2355 Gold Meadow Way, Sacramento, California, 95670, United States
3 - Markes International Ltd, 1000B Central Park, Western Avenue, Bridgend, CF31 3RT, United Kingdom

Contact Information: [email protected]; 01722819658


The measurement of trace volatile PFAS in Air (Indoor, Ambient and Industrial) is a rapidly increasing field of interest, due to both human health and environmental concerns. Analytical techniques typically used for water and soil samples such as LC/MSMS are not applicable to the short chain, volatile compounds.
Modern analytical Thermal Desorption (TD) GC–MS systems were designed specifically for monitoring trace-level organic vapours and recent developments in automated TD technology have meant these methods can be applied to more and more challenging compounds. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of the latest off-the-shelf sorbent tube sampling and automated TD–GC–MS analytical technology for analysing volatile and semi-volatile PFAS.
This study focused on perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (C4 to C14), fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs), fluorotelomer acrylates (FTAcrs), and fluorotelomer sulfonamides (FOSAs). These compounds have been shown to be widely distributed within indoor air, because of their high volatility and the wide use of PFAS compounds within everyday objects in our household.
Often overlooked is the fact that also very volatile perfluorinated hydrocarbons (C1 to C3), also known as potent greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances, are part of PFAS family. However, these require whole-air sampling using canisters, online monitoring or offline sampling bags and these sampling techniques, too, are amenable to GC-MS analysis.
Method development was carried out in the same manner as for most VOCs analysis. Guidelines from established air monitoring methods, like the US EPA TO-17 can directly be transferred into PFAS analysis. Excellent method performance (linearity, repeatability, storage stability, etc.) was demonstrated across the range of compounds tested, including low or sub-ppt detection limits for all compounds.