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LC-MS/MS analysis of PFAS in human serum

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are widely used because of their special properties which include heat resistance and water and fat repellency. Commonly known products in which PFAS can be found include non-sticky cookware, water-repelling textiles or glossy magazines. More than 4,000 substances are available on the market, which all are industrially originated.

Due to their molecular structure which contains carbon- fluorine bonds, PFAS benefit from a high stability, both thermal as well as chemical. However, this stability also leads to a persistency in the environment as they are not fully degradable which makes them persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These POPs not only accumulate in the environment but also in the human body since they are absorbed from food, water or air.

As a result, they are found predominantly in human blood or organs, which is why they need to be strictly monitored and regulated. As they are recently been assumed to be potentially carcinogenic, the daily uptake limit was lowered especially for two substances. Due to the adverse health effects of PFAS, a highly sensitive method is of particular relevance. This application note shows the analysis of 28 PFAS in human serum, based on the study of Nakayama et al. An automated solid phase extraction (SPE) system was coupled to an online SPE column-switching LC-MS/ MS method. Anion-exchanging scrubber columns were placed downstream of the LC pumps A, C and D in order to eliminate possible contamination from the system. A YMC-Triart C18 column used as the analytical column shows excellent results for this sensitive analysis.

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