Element performs PFAS testing to precisely measure their presence in water, soil, air, consumer products, food and more. We support you by identifying PFAS compounds in parts per trillion to mitigate environmental contamination and protect human health.
What are PFAS?
Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of synthetic organofluorine chemicals that have been widely used in industry and manufacturing since the 1940s, including applications such as non-stick cookware, stain-repellent clothing, fast food packaging, cosmetic make-up, and firefighting foams. They are found at many manufacturing and waste/wastewater treatment facilities as well as in the wider environment.
All PFAS have at least one fully fluorinated methyl (–CF3) or methylene (–CF2–) group, with the carbon-fluorine bonds (C–F) imparting high thermal stability and resistance to degradation, making them useful in a wide variety of products.
The importance of PFAS testing, PFOS testing and PFOA testing
PFAS compounds are persistent and bio-accumulative, meaning they do not break down in the environment, and can readily migrate to the air, water, soil, and food. They are often known as 'forever chemicals' and are attracting widespread interest due to their harmful effects on human health.
As awareness in PFAS compounds emerged, regulatory interest often focused on Perfluorooctanesulphonic Acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), two of the most used PFAS substances. However there are >5,000 known PFAS and regulatory scope, customer demand and analysis capabilities, are expanding rapidly.
PFAS testing at Element
We work closely with customers to deliver on the analyses to quantify PFAS compounds in the parts per trillion range. All testing is based on USEPA methodologies, samples include:
- Consumer products
- Agricultural products
- Firefighting foams
Element has offerd PFAS testing by liquid chromatography, coupled with tandem mass spectrometry, since 2015. Element's Deeside (UK) laboratory has recently invested in an Agilent 1290 HPLC 6495 Triple Quadropole MS, which can achieve the required regulatory detection levels without requirement for additional sample preparation. Deeside holds ISO17025 accreditation for the testing of Low Level PFAS in waters.
We currently offer a target list of 50 substances which has been developed to include those 20 PFAS detailed within Annex III of EU Drinking Water Directive 2020/2184, the England & Wales Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) Annex A – List of 47 PFAS substances required for monitoring and others routinely requested by our clients.
In addition, we also offer the Total Oxidisable Precursor Assay, or ‘TOP’ assay. This can be performed on soils, waters, and fire-fighting foams, and is a more comprehensive analysis technique for identifying the presence of some other PFAS or precursors not included in the target list.
Where clients require analysis for specific PFAS substances not on our current target list we are often able to undertake the method development work necessary to deliver the testing.
The Element advantage
We are accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO 17025:2017 for a wide range of matrices including soils, surface and groundwaters, effluents, air, petroleum products, marine sediments, sorbent tubes, and stack emission samples. The UKAS accreditation is recognized globally under the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) mutual recognition arrangement.
With regards to PFAS, Deeside participates in the proficiency testing scheme offered by ERA, titled Water Supply for Drinking Water PT scheme. ERA are accredited to ISO/IEC17043:2010 (A2LA Certificate of Accreditation number 1539.01).
Element offers advice on field sampling methodologies and techniques to minimise the risk of cross contamination, provide appropriate sample containers along with field blanks, deionised water etc. We organize local and international sample collections from sites or offices and offer fast turnarounds for your urgent samples. Contact us for more information.
FAQ: Our laboratory team answers your most frequently asked PFAS questions
Learn more about PFA compounds including the two primary classes; polymers and nonpolymers, and their subclasses, groups, and subgroups. Also, discover the uses of PFAS and how the substances are regulated.
This interview took place in 2023 with Deeside's Environmental Laboratory Technical Director, Clare Llowarch.READ OUR FAQ
Article: PFAS contamination in food from food packaging materials
PFAS chemicals in food packaging can migrate into food, especially when food containers, packaging and wrappers that contain PFAS are exposed to fatty, salty, or acidic foods.
In this article, Andrew Kolbert, Sr. Leader, Technical Solutions, provides insight into authorized uses of PFAS, voluntary phase-out of materials, the latest regulation, and the importance of testing.Read our article
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