Per‐ and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Environmental Sampling Product: Fact or Fiction?

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TRC’s per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) experts published an article that investigates the potential for cross-contamination from a number of commonly used products during sampling.

Can per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) be transferred from the common field and other commercial products during sampling? Special handling and care are always advised when collecting samples for PFAS analysis to avoid sample contamination. The potential presence of PFAS in common consumer products and in equipment typically used to collect environmental samples, coupled with the need for very low reporting limits heightens this concern.

In this paper, the authors investigate what the potential for crosscontamination is from a number of commonly used products, with the emphasis on evaluating what the possible worst‐case scenario for cross‐contamination could be. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), low‐density polyethylene (LDPE), and high‐density polyethylene (HDPE) tubing, pump bladders, and other materials are evaluated along with associated products such as aluminum foil and plastic storage bags. In the experimental design of this study, the products themselves are not analyzed directly for PFAS. Rather, a series of experiments are performed utilizing a leaching procedure to evaluate the potential for cross-contamination and false‐positive environmental sampling results. This study was performed in a series of experimental batches over the course of a 1‐year period. Analytical results are presented along with experimental observations and recommendations.

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