Advanced PFAS Measurement Methods

Science Center Objects

Environmental Health Program scientists, in collaboration with other USGS scientists, are developing complementary field and laboratory methods and capabilities to detect and quantify a range of target and nontarget per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) compounds and indicator compounds at low levels (parts per trillion) in a variety of environmental matrices. The PFAS Integrated Scienct Team is focusing on passive sampler methods as well as tissue and plasma methods. Their analyses complement the methods development in the USGS Water Mission area for water, sediment, and total organic fluorine. 

New Laboratory Capabilities

Scientist preparing to analyze samples in a laboratory

U.S .Geological Survey scientist at the Eastern Ecological Science Center preparing to analyze samples on a high resolution mass spectrometer for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). 

(Credit: James Reynolds, USGS. Public domain.)

  • Continue devlopment of a research laboratory at the Eastern Ecological Science Center for PFAS analyses in plasma and tissue to compliment PFAS analyses for water and sediment at existing USGS laboratories.
  • PFAS measured and the analytical methods used for tissue and plasma will be comparable among USGS laboratories and similar to those used by other Federal agencies to allow for consistency and comparability within and outside USGS. 
  • Scientists are also devloping methods for PFAS precursors in water and tissues and analytical capabilities for unknown PFAS. 


Evaluation/optimization of passive sampling techniques for PFAS in surface, ground, and porewaters

  • Evaluation of various passive sampling approaches to better understand capabilities for PFAS detection in water.
  • Determination of the uptake and depuration kinetics and optimization of processing techniques for PFAS.


Development of total organic fluorine analysis 

  • Begin development of a laboratory capability for total organic fluorine analyses in biological matrices by combustion ion chromotography methods.