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A single analytical method for the determination of 53 legacy and emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in aqueous matrices

Coggan, Timothy L., Anumol, Tarun, Pyke, James, Shimeta, Jeff, Clarke, Bradley O.
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2019 v.411 no.16 pp. 3507-3520
anion exchange, detection limit, drinking water, isomers, lakes, liquid chromatography, perfluorocarbons, quantitative analysis, rivers, solid phase extraction, surface water, surveys, tandem mass spectrometry, wastewater, wetlands
A quantitative method for the determination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) using liquid chromatography (LC) tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) was developed and applied to aqueous wastewater, surface water, and drinking water samples. Fifty-three PFAS from 14 compound classes (including many contaminants of emerging concern) were measured using a single analytical method. After solid-phase extraction using weak anion exchange cartridges, method detection limits in water ranged from 0.28 to 18 ng/L and method quantitation limits ranged from 0.35 to 26 ng/L. Method accuracy ranged from 70 to 127% for 49 of the 53 extracted PFAS, with the remaining four between 66 and 138%. Method precision ranged from 2 to 28% RSD, with 49 out of the 53 PFAS being below < 20%. In addition to quantifying > 50 PFAS, many of which are currently unregulated in the environment and not included in typical analytical lists, this method has efficiency advantages over other similar methods as it utilizes a single chromatographic separation with a shorter runtime (14 min), while maintaining method accuracy and stability and the separation of branched and linear PFAS isomers. The method was applied to wastewater influent and effluent; surface water from a river, wetland, and lake; and drinking water samples to survey PFAS contamination in Australian aqueous matrices. The compound classes FTCAs, FOSAAs, PFPAs, and diPAPs were detected for the first time in Australian WWTPs and the method was used to quantify PFAS concentrations from 0.60 to 193 ng/L. The range of compound classes detected and different PFAS signatures between sample locations demonstrate the need for expanded quantitation lists when investigating PFAS, especially newer classes in aqueous environmental samples. Graphical abstract