Chief Science Advisor
Bureau Veritas Laboratories
Dr. Terry Obal is Chief Science Advisor at Bureau Veritas Laboratories. Terry ensures that good science and its value are fully available to Bureau Veritas customers, regulators and the public by providing technical representation, consultative support and expert opinions. He is recognized as Bureau Veritas Laboratories’ subject matter expert on PFAS. Terry has over 30 years of experience in analytical chemistry, laboratory management and environmental chemical consulting. He holds B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry. He is Chairman of the Ontario Environmental Industry Association; Vice-Chair of the Federation of Canada’s Professional Chemists; and an Ontario Chartered Chemist.
PFAS Replacement Compounds: “The Next Generation”
Industries in the United States have phased out production of PFOA and PFOS because of potential health risks to humans. As global production of PFOS and PFOA is eliminated, manufacturers have been and continue developing PFAS replacement technologies to reformulate or substitute longer chain PFAS (e.g. PFOS and PFOA) with shorter-chain perfluoroalkyl or polyfluorinated substances. These processes result in: fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOH); perfluorobutane sulfonyl fluoride (PBSF)-based derivatives (e.g., perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) as a substitute for PFOS); and polyfluoroethers (e.g. GenX, ADONA and F53B used in the manufacture of fluoropolymers) among others. While there is a substantial body of knowledge for managing risk from PFOS and PFOA, much less is known about replacement PFAS. Although published toxicological data is limited, studies are suggesting that some of the lower molecular weight PFAS replacement compounds may be more hazardous than their long-chain predecessors. Information on the type and extent of environmental contamination by replacement PFAS is also limited, as most are currently not reported as part of the routine suite of PFAS commonly analysed by commercial analytical laboratories. Three key PFAS replacements currently being studied are commonly referred to as GenX, ADONA and F53B. PFAS replacements like these tend to have fewer carbon atoms in the chain, but have many similar physical and chemical properties as their predecessors PFOS and PFOA (e.g. they repel oil and water). Because of increased interest in PFAS replacement compounds and the potential for their regulation in some jurisdictions, Bureau Veritas Laboratories have validated methods for the determination of GenX, ADONA and F53B by isotope dilution liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. This presentation will describe: the history and environmental impact of these compounds; required sample collection protocols; analytical performance considerations; and site remediation challenges.