Modern chemistry has allowed the development of heat-defying products – like Teflon that keeps cookware from burning and aqueous film-forming foam that is used to extinguish solvent-fueled fires – but their principal compounds, referred to as PFASs, are now known to permeate groundwater and soil as well as humans. PFAS testing is a critical step to ensure compliance with the regulations at work to prevent PFA compound contamination.
Phoslab Environmental Services is a leading environmental testing laboratory in central Florida. We are staffed by a professional team including chemists and biologists to ensure high-quality, accurate results that comply with current standards in sample collection and testing. We stay up to date on current regulations like those related to PFAS handling so that we can help you stay in compliance.
PFAS is the shorthand for perflourinated and polyflourinated alkyl substances, a class of compounds characterized by flourinated carbon chains. This group of man-made chemicals is diverse but share characteristics of heat, water, and oil resistance due to the short and strong C-F bonds.
PFOA and PFOS are the most well-known of the chemicals because they have been studied for their effects on both the environment and human health and this has led to government regulation. PFOS may no longer be manufactured in America and PFOA are being phased out but because they are both byproducts of other commercial products, contaminants can be released during the use or disposal of existing products or products imported from other countries.
PFAS use in products
Because of their durability, PFAS compounds have been used for decades in diverse ways, from industrial uses to consumer products. When PFASs are added to a product, they can make the product more nonstick, waterproof, and resistant to stains.
Some of the more common places PFAS chemicals are found include:
- paper products
- heat-resistant foam
- metal plating
Phoslab Environmental Services is able to test your products and samples such as water and soil samples to determine the levels of PFAS compounds. Our accurate results assist you in making handling decisions and fulfill reporting duties.
Effects of PFAS compounds
PFAS chemicals increase – bioaccumulate and biomagnify – over time, so their concentration in the body increases. Similarly, they remain in the environment so they pervade soil, groundwater, and air without breaking down quickly. Studies have shown the half life of some PFAS compounds to be several years.
PFAS chemicals are being phased out in the United States under an EPA regulation requiring the removal of long-chain PFAS chemicals before 2016. Though many major chemical manufacturers have not produced them since 2015, they are still produced in certain industries and after more than half a century of use and tendency to not degrade, they have accumulated significantly in certain substances.
The health effects are not yet completely understood but studies indicate that PFAS exposure can cause serious problems. Some may interfere with endocrine system function and the autoimmune system. At high concentrations they may also be associated with low birth weight, delayed puberty, a rise in cholesterol, and lowered response to vaccines among other problems. There is evidence of toxicity caused by some PFAS compounds and researchers are examining whether the carbon chain lengths that distinguish each PFAS chemical also impact toxicity.
What is PFOA?
PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, shares the trait of extreme stability, being used in the production of Teflon, ski wax, stain-resistent clothing and carpets, among other things. Because it does not break down easily, it remains in water supplies, soil, even dust, and in most people’s bodies.
PFOA have been shown to be toxic and carcinogenic in animals. It has also been detected in nearly all of the general US population, with higher concentrations near chemical plants.
What is PFOS?
Perfluorooctane sulfonate was a main ingredient in Scotchgard and other stain repellents. It is a a fluorosurfactant, having the ability to significantly lower the surface tension of water. PFOS are used along with PFOA to make aqueous film forming foam for firefighting.
PFOS effects have been studied in animals. They can cause cancer, interrupted endocrine activity including stunted growth, and neonatal death.
PFAS Compound Testing Capabilities
Phoslab Environmental is accredited by the State of Florida Department of Health, as well as being certified by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program. In PFAS testing, we maintain the highest standards to ensure accurate results and quick turnaround.
We test water, soil, sediment, even products in our state of the art laboratory. Reporting sensitivity includes trace levels of contaminants. Water samples are analyzed by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Samples can be retrieved from, among other things,water fountains and meet the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule rquiements under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Analysis is in accordance with the EPA Provisional Health Advisory values of 0.4 micrograms per liter for PFOA and 0.2 micrograms per liter for PFOS.
PFAS testing in Florida
The professionals at Phoslab Environmental are here to meet your PFAS testing needs with quick turnaround, accurate analysis, and courteous service. We provide environmental testing services across industries, from municipalities to mines to hazardous waste facilities.
Call (863) 292-6345 to learn how we can help you.
Additional PFAS Testing Resources:
- EPA, Research on Per- and Polyflouroalkyl Substances (PFAS), https://www.epa.gov/chemical-research/research-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas
- EPA, Drinking Water Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS, https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos
- American Cancer Society, Teflon and Perflourooctanoic Acid (PFOA), http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/teflon-and-perfluorooctanoic-acid–pfoa
- National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, Perflourinated Chemicals, http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/perflourinated_chemicals_508.pdf
- PFAS Testing is Critical Step to Prevent Contaminated Drinking Water, http://phoslab.com/pfas/pfas-testing-critical-step-prevent-contaminated-drinking-water/