Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are used in a broad range of consumer goods. Due to their extreme stability, they accumulate in the environment and organisms, posing a significant threat to human health. Hence, proper monitoring of PFAS is required to help mitigate these harmful effects.
Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is one of the most frequently used techniques to detect PFAS. Yet, researchers often face bottlenecks in the analytical process that must be overcome to efficiently detect these substances.
This infographic highlights robust and easy-to-use LC-MS/MS solutions to streamline PFAS analysis.
Download this infographic to learn more about:
• The cycle of PFAS in the environment
• Guidelines and vetted methods to test PFAS
• Common challenges and solutions in PFAS analysis
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
WHAT’S THE BEST APPROACH TO ANALYZE PFAS?
HOW TO AVOID SAMPLE CONTAMINATION & SAMPLE LOSS?
HOW TO OPTIMIZE DATA PROCESSING?
ANALYSIS WITH SHIMADZU’S
LC-MS1 MS SOLUTIONS
Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is one of the most
frequently used techniques to detect PFAS in environmental samples. LC-MS/MS workflows
offer excellent sensitivity and a low limit of detection. Yet, researchers often face
significant bottlenecks in the analytical process that must be overcome in order to detect
Data processing and review are laborious and time consuming.
Use Shimadzu’s LabSolutions Insight software:
• Easy-to-use and customizable
• Automated QA/QC flagging for vetted methods
• Ensure data integrity
Solutions for an Efficient Analysis of PFAS
Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances
(PFAS) are a family of more than 6000 synthetic
chemicals with a fluorinated carbon chain
connected to different functional groups.1,2
These man-made substances – first produced in
the 1940s – are released to the environment at
various stages of manufacture, use and disposal
of PFAS-containing products. Due to their
extremely stable carbon–fluorine bonds, PFAS
are resistant to degradation and accumulate in
the environment and living organisms, earning
them the name “forever chemicals”.3 Today, PFAS
are present in the products we consume, the
air we breath, the food we eat, the water we
drink and inside our own bodies. However, new
technologies are being developed to prevent
them lingering in the environment indefinitely.4
These technologies together with proper
monitoring of PFAS are required to help mitigate
the harmful effects these substances
have on humans and ecosystems.
PFA production Product manufacture
Wastewater treatment plant
Wet & dry deposition
Air & Dust
PFAS consist of an alkyl chain with
multiple fluorine atoms attached
(e.g., perfluorooctanesulfonic acid
(PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid
(PFOA), GenX and many more).
PFAS have many desirable
properties, such as resistance to oil,
grease, water and heat.
PFOA, also known as C8
Old firefighting foams
(banned today) used
in airports and military
bases used to be one
of the main sources of
to PFAS occurs
drinking water and
of indoor air and
contact with other
GUIDELINES TO MEASURE PFAS
As PFAS pose risks to humans and ecosystems, governments have established standardized
methods to monitor PFAS levels and help manage their risk.
• 533, 537 and 537.1 for drinking water.
• 8327 for surface water, groundwater and
• 1633 for wastewater, surface water,
groundwater, soil, biosolids, sediment,
landfill leachate and fish tissue.
ASTM International methods:
• D7968-19 for soil.
• D8421-22 for aqueous matrices.
• ISO 25101 for water, sludge, soil and sediment.
Targeted analyses detection of
specific known PFAS in a sample.
detection of all (known and novel)
PFAS in a sample.
ADVANCE PFAS ANALYSIS WITH SHIMADZU
1. Sunderland EM, Hu XC, Dassuncao C, Tokranov AK, Wagner CC, Allen JG.
A review of the pathways of human exposure to poly- and perfluoroalkyl
substances (PFASs) and present understanding of health effects. J Expo Sci
Environ Epidemiol. 2019;29(2):131-147. doi: 10.1038/s41370-018-0094-1
2. Portal on per- and poly fluoroalkyl chemicals. OECD. https://www.oecd.
3. Wang Z, Cousins IT, Scheringer M, Hungerbuehler K. Hazard assessment
of fluorinated alternatives to long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and
their precursors: status quo, ongoing challenges and possible solutions.
Environ Int. 2015;75:172-179. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.11.013
4. Meegoda JN, Bezerra de Souza B, Casarini MM, Kewalramani JA. A
Review of PFAS destruction technologies. Int J Environ Res Public Health.
2022;19(24):16397. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192416397.
5. Hu XC, Andrews DQ, Lindstrom AB, et al. Detection of poly- and
perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in U.S. drinking water linked to
industrial sites, military fire training areas, and wastewater treatment
plants. Environ Sci Technol Lett. 2016;3(10):344-350. doi: 10.1021/acs.
6. Trudel D, Horowitz L, Wormuth M, Scheringer M, Cousins IT,
Hungerbühler K. Estimating consumer exposure to PFOS and PFOA. Risk
Anal. 2008;28(2):251-269. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2008.01017.x
Consumables contain materials derived from PFAS that
can contaminate the sample.
Use PFAS-free containers (no Teflon or low-density polyethylene
(LDPE) materials) to store stock solutions and samples.
Mix the extract/sample before (re)injection. Some PFAS may settle, precipitate or adsorb onto vials when
left for extended periods of time.
Do not store samples in glass containers. PFAS can adsorb to glass, especially when stored for long
periods of time.
Test all consumables and SPE cartridges for PFAS,
prior to the first use.
Some methods require a step of solid phase extraction
(SPE) to preconcentrate the samples.
Install a delay column after the mixer and before the injection
port to retain PFAS leaching from the instrument or present in
the mobile phases.
Several components of LC-MS/MS instruments contain
materials derived from PFAS that can contaminate the sample.
The small sample volumes required
result in less sample loading and
low downtime frequency by using
Shimadzu’s sensitive LC-MS/MS
Combine with vetted LC/MS/MS
Method Packages for PFAS analysis
Use Shimadzu’s high resolution
quadruple time of flight (Q-TOF)
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