Combating PFAS ‘The Forever Chemical’ Contamination

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s due to their useful properties. There are thousands of different PFAS, some of which have been more widely used and studied than others.

Nothing about PFAS – from how they are made, to their unique characteristics, to how they need to be analysed – is easy. These chemicals were developed to simplify our lives, but now decades later, they have become a serious problem due to their elusive and persistent nature, hence the nickname ‘The Forever Chemical.’ What is clear is that PFAS contamination is an environmental and growing health issue, but what is less clear is how to address and manage this issue.

 

The importance of PFAS

PFAS are important because they have been widely used in industry and manufacturing due to their unique chemical properties; properties that make them heat-resistant, able to repel water, and close to indestructible. PFAS compounds have been used in many applications such as non-stick cookware, stain-repellent clothes, food contact materials, detergents, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams.

The unfortunate consequence of PFAS

For many years, PFAS were thought to be inert and nontoxic and were extensively used with little thought for environmental disposal or ecological impact. It was not until early this century that the extent of PFAS global contamination was first realised. There are over 4000 PFAS compounds thought to have been manufactured and are now potentially in the environment globally.

The research on PFAS compounds has identified them as being persistent and bio accumulative, and their widespread use has led to them being almost ubiquitous in the environment. Because PFAS do not break down, they enter the environment through production or waste streams. In South Africa, the presence of PFAS has been detected in some water sources, including rivers and dams.

“PFAS are a new style of pollutants that don’t follow the ‘rules’ of traditional organic pollutants. This is why regulators and scientists, unfortunately, failed to predict how these chemicals would move through the environment, and why we now have a serious problem of such widespread PFAS contamination of drinking water, agricultural land, and the domestic environment.”

– Bradley Clarke, senior lecturer in Analytical Chemistry and Environmental Science, at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and an Agilent collaborator.

 

PFAS exposure and human health

People can be exposed to low levels of PFAS compounds through consumer products that contain PFAS, for example, carpets, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging materials, and non-stick cookware. Drinking water can also be a source of exposure in communities where these chemicals have contaminated water supplies, such as an industrial facility where PFAS were produced, or used to manufacture other products, or an oil refinery, airfield or other location at which PFAS may have been used for firefighting.

Download our eBook Guide to Targeted Quantification and Screening of PFAS Compounds in Environmental Matrices >

Helping scientists learn more about PFAS

PFAS contamination is a complex issue. While knowledge about PFAS compounds and their potential health effects has grown, many questions remain unanswered. It’s also a global issue and collaborative research allows countries to share knowledge, best practices, and effective solutions.

Watch our webinar on Strategies to Optimise Performance of PFAS Analysis >

Committed to helping scientists and regulators around the world solve these water issues to provide safe and sustainable water sources for everyone, Agilent has recently developed a protocol for the analysis of PFASs in drinking water using the Agilent Ultivo triple quadrupole LC/MS. Working with leading researchers around the world, Agilent has also developed a method for extracting PFASs in drinking water using Agilent Offline Solid Phase Extraction and an Agilent LC/MS/MS system with a PFAS-free 1290 Infinity II LC System.

Agilent Ultivo LC/MSMS

 

Agilent 1290 Infinity II 2D-LC System

 

Providing scientists with measurement and identification technology solutions to accurately analyze PFAS chemicals in water is a critical first step for estimating human exposure and potential risk. Robust analytical techniques that can provide unbiased quantitative and qualitative data on these PFAS pollutants at trace levels are necessary for further understanding their environmental fate, ecological impacts, and impacts on public health. These analytical techniques and the fundamental data they generate will allow scientists and regulators to make informed assessments of PFAS use in modern society.

Watch our webinar on The PFAS Lab of the Future >

Although PFAS research on the African continent is not extensive as yet, the growing awareness and need to understand these chemicals for policy and regulation is necessary. As an analytical instrument supplier and solutions provider for laboratories, Chemetrix is committed to helping combat the “Forever Chemical” challenge.

Parts of this article have been adapted from the original published by Agilent.

Become a Better Chromatographer Webinar Series

Whether you are a seasoned GC veteran or a beginner, this GC Webinar series will help to make you a better chromatographer so you get the reproducible results you need to make your lab more productive.

 

 

Overwhelmed with too many GC column options? Let us help

There are many column choices for GC and GC/MS, but which one is right for your method? Choosing the correct column type is paramount in being successful with your analysis. Understanding the stationary phase chemistry and the role it plays in column selectivity, as well as the dimensions of the capillary column itself, will result in a more robust and efficient analysis. This talk will discuss how the various stationary phases influence selectivity, as well as how column dimensions affect peak behavior and resolution. Join us as we match you with the right column for your analysis!

Speaker

Mark Sinnott
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

 

Analysis of Permanent Gases: More Challenging Than You Might Think

On the surface, this would appear to be a simple separation—however, there are several challenges related to the analysis of permanent gases. We will discuss typical techniques for resolving and detecting permanent gases, including carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Other topics will include cryogenic techniques, column isolation, and the use of the Agilent J&W Select Permanent Gases/CO2 GC column.

Speaker

Mark Sinnott
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Take the Trouble Out of Troubleshooting: Gas Chromatography

We probably have all experienced this at some point when performing gas chromatography—our peak shape begins to appear a bit different. In this webinar, we will discuss some of the most common chromatographic issues that you experience with gas chromatography and take a logical approach to finding the root cause and correcting the problem. Often the best way to approach troubleshooting is to also consider what cannot cause an issue so that precious time is not spent addressing something that is not relevant to the symptoms. This webinar will arm you with simple tools, and a different way to look at troubleshooting, should a problem arise.

Speaker

Alex Ucci
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Agilent GC/MS Solutions for Cannabis and Hemp Testing

This presentation will introduce you to the Agilent flow path solutions for residual solvents, terpenes, and pesticide testing in cannabis and hemp. We will discuss how we have made it easier for you to get up and running quickly with e-Methods, application notes, and consumable kits.

Speaker

Simon Jones
GC Applications Engineer/Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Keep your GC Column Alive: Tips and Tricks for Extending Column Lifetime

These are just some of the questions we receive frequently in technical support and will address in today’s webinar.  We will show you some tips and tricks on how to bring your column back to life as well as when it is time to get a new one.  We will also discuss some preventative measures you can take to keep your column healthy such as implementing sample preparation.

Speaker

Ryan Birney
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Alex Ucci
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Demystifying Valve Gas Chromatography: Understanding Complex Valve Configurations

Valve chromatography can be overwhelming to even the most experienced GC users.  Join us as we discuss the physical design of the valves, how the physical design relates to common valve diagrams, and common uses for different types of valves.  We will begin with simple valve configurations and understand how these simple concepts can create a complex solution.  We hope to have you leave with a basic understanding of valve chromatography.

Speaker

Kelly Beard
Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Get Better Resolution for your New Year’s Resolution: GC Separation Troubleshooting

Whether it be eating healthier or exercising more, we all set goals for the New Year.  But are you also resolving to get better resolution this year with your GC columns?

Are you experiencing peak co-elution or would you simply like to obtain more resolution between your peaks?

Join us as we discuss methods and strategies for getting better resolution as your New Year’s resolution.

Speaker

Alex Ucci
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Indecisive About your Column Selection? Let Us Help You Choose the Correct GC Column

There are many column choices for GC and GC/MS but which one is right for your method?   Choosing the correct column type is paramount in being successful with your analysis. Understanding the stationary phase chemistry and the role it plays in column selectivity, as well as the dimensions of the capillary column itself, will result in a more robust and efficient analysis. This talk will discuss how the various stationary phases influence selectivity, as well as how column dimensions affect peak behavior and resolution. Join us as we match YOU with the right column for your analysis!

Speaker

Alex Ucci
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Agilent 8890 Features to Improve Lab Productivity

Have you been wondering how the new features in the 8890 can help your lab? Do you know the new features the 8890 has to offer? The 8890 has integrated tools that can help your lab with productivity. The new tools can also help your lab maintain, troubleshoot, and monitor your GC’s usage. Join this webinar to learn more about these features and find out how you can implement them in your lab.

Speaker

Jamie Wetuski
GC Training Specialist Technical Marketing
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Understanding GC- What is Really Going on Inside the Box?

In this presentation, we will leave you with an understanding of what Gas Chromatography really means, and what is really happening from injection to detection. We will explain what resolution is, and how to improve it as well as the influence that each component of the system has on your results in general.

Speaker

Mark Sinnott
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Making Better Connections in GC and GC/MS Systems

This presentation will cover products from Agilent that make GC connections more robust by utilizing new technologies that makes connections easier, leak free and more inert for any application.

Topics covered include: Self Tightening Stainless Column Nuts and ferrules, Press Fits, UltiMetal Plus and Stainless Steel Capillary Tubing, Ferrule Pre-swaging installation tool and MS interface installation tool, among others.

Speaker

Mark Sinnott
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Tips and Tricks: Best Practices for Column Installation and Care of GC Columns

The installation and care of your GC column is of the utmost importance. Whether you are new to the practice of gas chromatography, or would like a refresher, join us as we discuss proper column installation and handling for all Agilent GCs, including the Agilent Intuvo 9000 GC. We will also address the common modes of column degradation and some of the misconceptions that people have concerning column degradation. Lastly, we will discuss ways that you can protect and maintain your column performance and extend its lifetime while minimizing instrument downtime.

Speaker

Alex Ucci
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Ryan Birney
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Techniques for Avoiding Unexpected Problems in LC and GC Analysis

Chromatography can be complicated. Sample preparation is important, but not always used correctly. This webinar will cover some unexpected problems and solutions to generate better data. We will cover topics including peak shape, ghost peaks, tailing peaks, split peaks, missing peaks, variable retention times, high backpressure, instrument contamination, and ion suppression. We will go over strategies for cleaning up your sample, protecting your column and instrument from sample matrix contamination, and getting reliable, reproducible, and accurate results from your chromatography.

Speaker

Alex Ucci
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

How to Go Fast and Make Your Carrier Gas Last

In today’s ever-changing laboratory environment, sample throughput and security of supply are paramount in maintaining productivity. With the recent limited availability and cost increase of helium, many labs are looking at ways to conserve and convert. In this webinar, we will demonstrate how simple column and consumables choices can improve speed of analysis, while also minimizing the use of carrier gas. We will also illustrate how these same consumables will provide the flexibility needed to simplify conversion to hydrogen carrier gas, if needed. Finally, we will provide some simple, under-utilized tips on how to conserve your current gas use. Please join us to hear how you can implement fast GC methods that will also reduce the impact of carrier gas supply disruptions.

Speaker

Ashlee Gerardi
Product Marketing
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

How to Keep a Good Thing Going: Preventive and Routine Maintenance for Your GC System

There are many consumables in the GC flow path, and sometimes it can be tricky to know when it is time for a replacement. Join us as we review the common consumables in the GC flow path and point out common signs or symptoms that indicate it may be time to do some maintenance.

Speaker

Alex Ucci
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Unlocking Pesticide Analysis Excellence: Proven Tactics for Optimal Results with Helium and Hydrogen

Delve into the GC/TQ pesticide analysis workflow, from sample preparation to robust results over hundreds of injections. We will uncover the expert strategies for enhancing analytical performance in the analysis of pesticides in challenging food matrices with the 7000E GC/TQ and the 7010C GC/TQ. From EMR pass-through cleanup to the benefits of a midcolumn backflush, GC injection optimization, column considerations with helium and hydrogen, GC method translation, retention time locking, and the consumables designed to simplify the setup, we will reveal the keys to success with both helium and hydrogen carrier gases. Elevate your analysis with tips and tricks that bring out the best in your results.

Speaker

Anastasia A. Andrianova
GC/MS Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Navigating Troubled Waters: A Deep Dive into Water Injections by GC

Injecting water into your GC may be convenient, especially if you are working with compounds that have limited solubility in organic solvents or with water samples. However, there are many potential problems with water, including injector and detector issues. Join us as we take a dive deep and explore water injections and not only how to perform them correctly, but also the many pointers to keep in mind when working with water.

Speaker

Mark Sinnott
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Don’t Get Carried Away by Carryover: Troubleshooting GC Chromatography

Have you ever seen analyte peaks show up in a blank, or extra peaks suddenly appear out of nowhere? It is likely that you have some carryover or contamination in your system. Contamination that creates ghost and carryover peaks can be introduced at different points, including sample preparation, introduction, and separation. The additional peaks can cause false positive identifications and/or inaccurate quantitative results.

Speaker

Alex Ucci
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Prevent, Protect, Purify: The Benefits of Gas Filtration

Impure gases can cause installation delays, premature instrument failure, and flawed results. Purification is one of the most important steps that you can take to optimize your system performance. Although you might purchase the highest-quality gas, purification still acts as a form of insurance in case a leak occurs. Join us as we cover options for gas purification and have a look at what gas contamination looks like so you can spot it in your chromatography.

Speaker

Ryan Birney
Application Engineer
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

 

 

Register now >

 

Addressing Data Integrity Gaps: Does Your Lab Have a Strategy?

Data integrity is paramount in today’s digital world. Data Integrity Insights helps your lab stand up to any regulatory examination by informing you about the latest global enforcement trends and the strategies you can use to stay compliant. Presenting uncompromised results and maintaining compliance with the latest regulations and standards, including those issued by the pharmaceutical, environmental and food regulatory bodies, is a necessity.

The traditional approaches to laboratory data integrity are insufficient to meet today’s increased scrutiny of computerised systems and the terabytes of data they produce. To successfully present your results, you must be prepared to prove that your data have not been compromised—and that can be a challenge.

Does your lab have a data integrity strategy? Are data integrity gaps putting your company at risk?

Learn how to perform data process mapping on a chromatographic process from the set-up of analysis through calculating the reportable result. From this map, the data integrity gaps can be identified, and the risk assessed to determine how critical the gaps are so that a plan and strategy to remediate or remove the risks can be implemented.

 

What you will learn

  • Understand the scope of a data integrity program
  • How to perform data process mapping on a chromatographic process to identify data integrity gaps, assess the risk posed by those gaps, and determine how to remediate or solve them.
  • Understand options for short-term remediation and long-term solutions

 

Who should attend

Analytical chemists, technicians, laboratory managers, regulatory affairs personnel and others working in R&D and QA/QC in the pharmaceutical industry.

 

Bob McDowall
Director, RD McDowall
Limited, Bromley,
Kent, UK

Register and watch on demand >