Development and application of an LC-MS method to the determination of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in drinking, sea and surface water samples†
Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a group of synthetic organic surfactants that have become a global concern because of their toxicity and widespread presence in the aquatic environment and organisms globally. In this study, a new analytical method has been developed and validated for the analysis of 15 perfluorinated compounds in different water matrices: river water, drinking water and seawater. Water extraction was performed in anion exchange solid phase extraction cartridges, and extracts were analysed by liquid chromatography in tandem with mass spectrometry. Recoveries for target analytes were between 35 and 120%, depending on the water matrix. Method detection limits were in the range of 0.5–17 ng L−1. The validated method was applied to the determination of perfluorinated compounds in water samples around Ireland. Eight compounds out of fifteen were detected at least in one sample. Measured concentrations were higher in river water than seawater, and drinking water had the lowest levels, although still detectable for a considerable amount of compounds. The most prevalent compounds were PFPeA, PFOA and PFHxA, present in all types of water, and they had the highest concentrations.