Per-and Poly-fluoroalky substances (PFAS) are a class of contaminants that are steadily increasing in both number of identified and testable compounds, as well as complexity of testing. Due to the ubiquitous use of these compounds across numerous industries, testing for these analytes presents a unique set of challenges for maintaining clean laboratory control blanks.
When testing environmental samples for PFAS, a blank control is analyzed to demonstrate that the analytical process has not added any PFAS to the samples themselves. Each laboratory supply introduced during the sample preparation process can be a potential source of contamination to the blank control, including laboratory grade solvents, disposable test tubes, and even the extraction apparatus, itself. Because the threat of PFAS contamination is so widespread, it is important that each laboratory supply be checked prior to its use in sample analysis. Changes in a laboratory supply — either due to supply chain disruptions, or alterations in the manufacturing process- have the potential to result in a new source of contamination for PFAS, making it more difficult to produce clean blanks.
Increasing the number of PFAS compounds being tested for can also change whether or not a supply is still suitable for use. If a supply is contaminated with a PFAS compound not previously analyzed for, adding that compound to a laboratory’s testing list renders that supply unusable. Consequently, as a laboratory’s PFAS repertoire grows, so too does the difficulty of maintaining clean laboratory supplies and blanks. Here at Enthalpy Analytical, we pride ourselves on our thoroughness in maintaining clean blanks for our list of over 35+ PFAS compounds.
As more and more methods are published for PFAS testing, each with different analytes and extraction procedures, this rigorous testing for contamination remains a constant. With published methods utilizing different supplies and analyzing for different analytes, adding a new method only adds more possibilities for contamination.
When choosing a laboratory for your PFAS testing needs, it’s important to select one that can maintain clean method blanks for all analytes being tested. Finding a laboratory that can identify laboratory contamination quickly and respond with changes to supplies to limit that contamination is of utmost importance. At Enthalpy Analytical, we rigorously test supplies to maintain the cleanest blanks we can for all sample matrices.