Corporate Technical Director
Karla Buechler, Technical Director for TestAmerica based in Sacramento, California, has more than 30 years of experience in the environmental testing industry. In her current role she is the subject matter expert for PFAS and related LCMSMS analyses. Ms. Buechler’s subject matter expertise includes explosives, dioxins and furans, and other emerging contaminants. She has held positions in Laboratory Management, Project Management and has many years of hands-on experience with chromatography including Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry and High Resolution Mass Spectrometry. Ms. Buechler earned her BS in Biochemistry from the University of California at Davis, 1984.
Fluorinated Replacement Chemicals in Food Packaging Products
Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of thousands of synthetic compounds. Each contains carbon (C) chains with attached fluorine (F) atoms. The C-F bond is the shortest and strongest covalent bond in nature, and is responsible for most of the unique characteristics of these compounds. Frequent and long term use of these compounds has lead to their ubiquitous presence is the environment and the publics growing concern regarding their toxicity. Since 2000, there has been an on-going industrial push to replace long-chain PFAS compounds, including PFOA and PFOS, with short-chain PFAS compounds in order to reduce their potential impact on human health and the environment. Literature predicts that short-chain PFAS should be less persistent in the environment and less bioaccumulative. Further data is needed to determine if short-chain PFAS are less toxic than long-chain PFAS. The US EPA has focused their attention on three particular replacement chemicals including GenX, DONA, F-53B from the hundreds of replacement chemicals currently in use. In addition, they recently published a draft toxicology report of GenX indicating it does pose a risk to human health and the environment. Lastly, they have added GenX, DONA, and F-53B to Method 537.1, which is used for PFAS determination in drinking water. We will add other environmentally relevant replacement chemicals, which could include FBSA and FBSEE to our study. The use of various PFAS as additives and coatings in disposable food packaging and storage containers has been a common practice for many years and the concentrations of legacy PFAS is well documented in the literature. This presentation will review a variety of commonly used food packaging and preparation materials which will be analyzed to determine the presence of a growing list of fluorinated replacement chemicals, including GenX, DONA and F-53B, as well as a legacy list of 24 PFAS and the results will be shared.