PFAS Practice Leader
SGS North America
Geoff Pellechia is the PFAS Practice Leader, National Sales Manager for SGS North America. Geoff has over 25 years experience in Analytical Chemistry. He has been working in the emerging contaminants sector for the last decade.
Do's and Dont's of PFAS Sampling and More
PFAS are a class of synthetic fluorinated chemicals used in many industrial and consumer products, including defense-related applications. They are persistent, found at low levels in the environment, and bio-accumulate. The sources which can release significant quantities of PFAS to the environment are various, it could be , industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants (e.g. from textile industry, chrome-plating industry, among others), landfill leachate treatment plants, fire-fighting incidents and fire-fighting training areas (e.g., at airports, fuel production and storage facilities) and landfills. Human exposure to PFAS is mainly by ingestion of contaminated food or water. These compounds are not metabolized, bind to proteins (not to fats) and are mainly detected in blood, liver and kidneys. Elimination of PFOS, PFHxS and PFOA from the human body takes some years, whereas elimination of shorter chain PFAS is in the range of days, that is why EPA is primarily concern with long chain PFAS compounds. Concern around the environmental effects of PFAS use began in the late 1990s when it was realized that, due to their resistance to biodegradation, PFOS and PFOA were ubiquitous in various biological (wildlife and humans) and environmental (water bodies) matrices. For determination solid phase extraction and liquid chromatography / tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) is used for majority of PFAS compounds. Specific precautions have to be taken in the sampling of environmental media since PFAS adsorb strongly to glass. Teflon-containing materials can lead to increased background level. Currently the most appropriate material for sampling seems to be polyethylene or polypropylene. Because of the potential presence of PFAS in common consumer products and in equipment typically used to collect soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, and drinking water samples as well as the need for very low reporting limits, special handling and care must be taken when collecting samples for PFAS analysis to avoid sample contamination. In this presentation we are going to talk about some techniques and procedure that must follow when sampling for this compounds.