Air Testing for PFAS

Air quality and PFAS exposure

While PFAS are not directly related to air quality concerns, they have become an environmental issue due to their persistence, mobility, and potential health effects.

PFAS can enter the air through various pathways, such as industrial emissions, the use of PFAS-containing products, and the degradation of PFAS in the environment. Once in the air, PFAS can be transported over long distances and deposit into soil and water.

Air quality concerns related to PFAS may include:

Emission Sources: Industries that manufacture or use PFAS-containing products may release these chemicals into the air during production processes. Emissions from facilities that use firefighting foams containing PFAS can also contribute to air contamination.

Deposition and Contamination: PFAS released into the air can eventually settle on land or water bodies, contributing to environmental contamination. This can lead to concerns about the quality of air, soil, and water in affected areas.

Health Impacts: While the primary concern with PFAS exposure often revolves around contaminated drinking water, there is growing awareness of potential health effects related to inhalation exposure. Studies have indicated that certain PFAS can be found in indoor air, and occupational exposure may occur in industries that use or produce these substances.

Regulatory agencies and environmental organizations are actively studying the sources, transport, and potential health impacts of PFAS to establish guidelines and regulations. Monitoring air quality in areas with known PFAS contamination is an important aspect of addressing these concerns. It's essential to stay informed about local environmental assessments and regulations to better understand the specific air quality issues related to PFAS in a given region.

Thermal desorption testing and PFAS

Thermal desorption is a technique used to analyze samples for the presence of volatile and semi-volatile compounds, including PFAS. Testing for PFAS using thermal desorption typically involves the following steps:

1.      Sample Collection: Collect samples from the target environment, such as water, soil, or air. The sampling method will depend on the matrix being analyzed. Camsco’s extensive line of consumables is ultimately focused on air testing.

2.      Sample Preparation: Prepare the samples for analysis. This may involve extraction and concentration steps to isolate the PFAS from the sample matrix.

3.      Thermal Desorption: Thermal desorption involves heating the sample to release volatile and semi-volatile compounds. In the case of PFAS, the goal is to volatilize these substances from the sample.

4.      Transfer to Analytical Instrument: The volatilized compounds, including PFAS, are transferred from the sample to an analytical instrument. Gas chromatography (GC) is commonly used in conjunction with thermal desorption for separating and detecting individual compounds.

5.      Detection: Use a suitable detection method to identify and quantify PFAS in the sample. Mass spectrometry (MS) is often coupled with gas chromatography for highly sensitive and selective detection.

6.      Calibration and Quality Control: Calibrate the analytical instrument using standards with known concentrations of PFAS. Implement quality control measures to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the results.

7.      Data Analysis: Analyze the data to determine the presence and concentration of PFAS in the samples.

8.      It's important to note that testing for PFAS using thermal desorption requires specialized equipment and expertise. Laboratories with experience in environmental testing, especially those accredited by relevant regulatory bodies, are typically equipped to perform these analyses.

Camsco is the leader in thermal desorption consumables for air testing

Since 1991, Camsco has manufactured more than 3.25 million sorbent tubes (thermal desorption tubes) for customers all over the world. As a fully integrated and trusted U.S. manufacturer, Camsco has developed – and manufactured – hundreds of different types, sizes and configurations of tubes for a variety of leading instrument manufacturers and applications. 

Camsco’s quality sorbent tubes and accessories are used in environmental monitoring, industrial hygiene, materials emissions, quality control, safety and protection, development of food, flavors and fragrances, forensics and for detecting, identifying and quantifying chemical warfare agents, and more.