For laboratories analyzing PFAS, we offer multiple pathways for achieving targeted determinations, while enabling those who want to screen for unknowns to see what they may be missing with the targeted approach. Whether your lab needs to address increasing sample requests to meet local regulatory standards, or to enable environmental investigations on unknown soil and water samples, here’s how we can help:

  • Single-vendor source for PFAS workflows
  • Comprehensive portfolio for both targeted and untargeted analysis  
  • Automated combustion ion chromatography (CIC)  
  • Integrated data analysis software tools
PFAS toolkit

PFAS toolkit

Perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are contaminants of increasing concern. We have the products and applications experience to help you achieve optimal analysis for PFAS compounds.

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Depending on the sample matrix you need to analyze (for example, water or soil samples), and the goals of analysis, i.e., targeted analysis of known analytes or screening for unknowns, different PFAS workflows may be used. Each workflow includes technologies to extract, separate, detect and quantify analytes.

Each matrix requires a different sample preparation technique. For water sample preparation, solid-phase extraction (SPE) is used for drinking water while dilution, filtration, and/or acidification steps are used for various non-potable water samples. One option for preparation of solid samples is to use an accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) instrument. Other techniques cited in some regulatory methods require extraction into basic methanol, followed by cleanup using carbon and SPE cartridges prior to analysis.

Learn more about our sample preparation products for chromatography.

Choosing the most appropriate solutions largely depends on the type of PFAS screening or profiling analysis being performed – targeted quantitation, screening or non-targeted (unknown) PFAS workflows. The overall business and research goals of the laboratory are also a key determinant of the best analytical system to use as some methods are more routine and repetitive, while others are investigative and open-ended.

 Combustion IC systemTriple quadrupole LC-MSOrbitrap Exploris 120 HRAM LC-MSTSQ 9610 GC-MSOrbitrap Exploris GC
 Combustion IC systemTriple quadrupole LC-MSOrbitrap Exploris 120 HRAM LC-MSTSQ 9610 GC-MSOrbitrap Exploris GC-MS
Screening for Adsorbable Organic Fluorine (AOF) ----
Targeted quantitation-    
Non-target analysis (unknown) and retrospective analysis-- - 
Targeted screening-    

Having a suite of integrated data analysis software tools with automated processing and reporting capabilities makes routine sample analysis more efficient and boosts confidence in investigative “unknown” profiling. We offer several application-specific software packages to meet the unique requirements of different laboratories.

Software toolApplication

Thermo Scientific TraceFinder Software

  • Simplifies high-throughput screening and quantitation, ideal for HRAM data processing
  • Flexible software package that Increases laboratory throughput

Thermo Scientific mzCloud mass spectral library for PFAS identification

  • Identify unknown compounds even when reference standards are unavailable
  • Improved confidence in identification through comprehensive curation of all library content with extensive, fully annotated and searchable fragmentation spectra
  • Actionable results can be obtained even when there is no spectral library match
  • Searches can be performed for free both online and offline, or can be directly accessed through Compound Discoverer Software

Thermo Scientific Chromeleon Chromatography Data System

  • Ideal for targeted quantitation of PFAS
  • Compliance-ready control of instrumentation across multiple workflows
  • Customizable to meet user-specific requirements, regulatory guidelines, and reporting preferences

Thermo Scientific Compound Discoverer Software

  • Software to screen and identify unknowns, examine important statistical differences between sample sets
  • Built-in workflow exclusively for untargeted PFAS analysis with extensive fragment libraries and visualization tools to discriminate PFAS from the background and other compounds 
  • Works with mzCloud and mzVault libraries, along with other extensive online libraries
PFAS Data Processing Solutions - with the right software, forever chemicals do not need forever analysis

PFAS data processing solutions - with the right software, forever chemicals do not need forever analysis

We hear you - analyzing PFAS compounds in environmental matrices, especially via untargeted analysis, is a major challenge. Read this smart note to understand the critical considerations that can help ensure your testing laboratory is meeting the evolving requirements for PFAS data analysis.

 Download software smart note ›

Live webinar: Why is PFAS testing so challenging?

On-demand webinar: Why is PFAS testing so challenging?

Register to listen to our exclusive roundtable event where industry leaders in the field shared their experiences and discussed various topics to help PFAS analytical testing laboratories future-proof themselves in this constantly evolving area of environmental testing.

Access roundtable recording

The EPA proposed the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) to establish legally enforceable levels of six PFAS in drinking water, including PFOA and PFOS. Two previously developed methods that require clean-up such as EPA 537.1 and EPA 533 were established to measure PFAS in drinking water, including the six PFAS designated under the NPDWR.  

ISO 21675:2019 is widely used in Europe and specifies a method for the determination of selected polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in non‑filtrated waters.

Specific regulations have regional differences as described below:

  • Directive (EU) 2020/2184: 20 PFAS with a limit value of 0.1 µg/l (sum) or sum of 0.5 µg/l for all PFAS
  • UK: 47 PFAS, Tier 2 low (<0.01 µg/l), Tier 3 medium (<0.1 µg/l) and Tier 4 high risk (> 0.1 µg/l)
  • France: Limit 0.002 µg/l for 7 individual PFAS in surface waters
  • Italy: Limit of 0.005-0.040 µg/l for 18 individual PFAS by direct injection on LC-MS
  • Belgium: Limit of 0.01-0.05 µg/l for 43 individual PFAS (+3 optional)

Many of these methods require clean-up that can be done using either manual SPE or more conveniently, automated sample extraction using the Thermo Scientific Dionex AutoTrace PFAS, an automated solid-phase extraction (SPE) system. For targeted approach both sample preparation techniques are followed by triple quadrupole, LC-MS/MS analysis. For a non-targeted approach, high-resolution accurate-mass LC-MS/MS instruments can meet your requirements. 

“The combination of the ultra-high resolution and high mass accuracy, with AcquireX data-dependent analysis is a real game changer. We’re able to push up to 100% MS/MS acquisition coverage.” – Dr. Lee Ferguson, Duke University

Studies have shown that PFAS compounds may be even more prevalent in soil than they are in water. Extracting, separating, detecting and quantifying a wide range of PFAS chemicals from soil can be challenging.

Thermo Scientific EXTREVA ASE Accelerated Solvent Extractor can be used for sample extraction, in-cell cleanup and evaporation for soil, sludge, and a number of other matrices for PFAS determination. For a targeted approach sample preparation technique is followed by triple quadrupole, LC-MS/MS analysis. For a non-targeted approach, high-resolution accurate-mass LC-MS/MS instruments can meet your requirements. 

Extraction and analysis of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from soil

Extraction and analysis of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from soil

Detecting and quantifying PFAS in soil is as critical as detection in water. In this application note, scientists from Pacific Rim Laboratories describe an effective method of using accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) to extract 24 PFAS compounds from soil, followed by solid-phase extraction (SPE) and LC-MS/MS analysis.

 Download soil application note ›

Detecting airborne concentrations of PFAS is critical for measuring emission distribution and potential risk of human exposure. Unlike PFAS in water and soil matrices, PFAS in air can travel thousands of kilometers from the original point of emission and can contribute significantly to air pollution.

The US EPA is working to better regulate air emissions of PFAS and Other Test Method 45 (OTM-45) is a measurement of specific PFAS from stationary sources. In Europe a research method has been developed for both neutral and ionic PFAS in ambient air using thermal desorption coupled to gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS/MS). 

High-throughput analysis of neutral and ionic PFAS in ambient air

High-throughput analysis of neutral and ionic PFAS in ambient air

One of the main challenges of analyzing air samples for PFAS is that the compounds occur in trace concentrations in air, so low detection limits are crucial. This application note provides an in-depth overview of a high-throughput method for simultaneous analysis of PFAS in air using thermal desorption coupled to gas chromatography.

 Download air application note ›


Why is PFAS testing so challenging?

On-demand webinar: Expanding the scope of PFAS screening and quantitation through targeted acquisition – water analysis and beyond

In this on-demand webinar, Dr. John Bowden provides an overview of the challenges non-water matrices present for extracting and quantifying PFAS, including finding blanks and validating workflows. The presentation includes a discussion of targeted PFAS quantitation using solid phase extraction (SPE) prior to LC-MS/MS analysis to perform US EPA draft method 1633.

Access recording 

View our collection of educational, on-demand webinars to give you a deeper understanding of PFAS testing. Alternatively, watch one of our informational videos to hear how Thermo Fisher Scientific is making it easier to perform analyses of PFAS compounds in environmental samples.

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