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Quantification of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from PM2.5 using LC-MS

Portrait of graduate student Amber Birt, speaker
Amber Birt
Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
iSTEM Building 2, Room 1218
Analytical Seminar

Particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of solid or liquid particles suspended in a gas. Fine particles with diameters smaller than 2.5 mm (PM2.5) present a large human health concern because they can penetrate lower into the respiratory tract causing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and lung cancer. A group of organic compounds previously observed in PM2.5, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are present in a variety of environments. Human exposure to PFAS can lead to reduced immune response, endocrine-disruption, cancer and behavioral disorders. PFAS contain fluorinated alkyl chains and are both hydrophobic and lipophobic making them attractive for many consumer applications such as fast-food packaging, water resistant clothing, nonstick pans, and fire-fighting foams. The accuracy and precision necessary for quantification of PFAS from ambient PM2.5 extracts is challenging due to its presence in laboratory reagents and equipment. Additionally, the composition of PM2.5 is complex and PFAS tend to be present at low concentrations, requiring sensitive analytical methods. Advances in the quantification of PFAS using liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) in ambient PM2.5 have yielded greater accuracy and precision through the implementation of (1) on-line solid phase extraction (SPE) (2) selective pressurized liquid extraction (SPLE) and (3) instrument modifications. Extraction methods such as on-line SPE and SPLE or modifications to the LC-MS system can improve limits of detection, reduce PFAS background, and increase accuracy and reproducibility. 

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