Analysis of PFAS
(Per- and poly- fluorinated alkyl substances)

PFAS are an emerging class of contaminants that have become a significant concern in recent years as more research has become available to regulators.

PFAS are a group of synthetic (man-made) compounds that have been produced commercially since the 1950s – the most common being perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFAS compounds have been widely used for decades in consumer products such as carpeting, upholstery, and food paper wrappings; and in industrial applications such as metal plating and Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFFs) used for firefighting. Manufacturing of these compounds has been phased out since 2002, but PFAS may still be found in imported products, or as part of old stock.

Critically, as PFAS do not decompose easily, (i.e. they are very persistent in the environment) they can be found in air, water and soil and are known to bio-accumulate in some living organisms. Once ingested, PFOS and PFOA are eliminated very slowly from the human body. This means concentrations in the body increase over time, if they are continuously consumed.

Why choose AsureQuality

  • The only laboratory in New Zealand able to perform these analyses.
  • Meets all the requirements of the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP) from the Heads of Environmental Protection Agencies Australia and New Zealand (HEPA).
  • All analysis is international guidance compliant (e.g. QSM 5.1) and reported on a comprehensive suite of PFAS compounds, including linear and branched isomers of critical compounds.
  • World-class reporting limits - ultra-trace (ppt) levels for key matrices (refer to Table 1). These limits meet the requirements of the FSANZ (Food Safety Australia and New Zealand) recommended health-based guidance values.
  • Highly experienced with existing clients from across Australia and New Zealand, and involvement in the analysis of samples from highly contaminated sites.
  • All methods are developed in-house and are based on literature references and/or standard methods. Further detailed documentation of test methods are available on request.
  • Ability to adapt methods for other sample types (this would take some time and likely incur additional costs).
  • Supply sample containers and PFAS-free reagent water for rinsing equipment during field sampling.

Sample types

Water: Chlorinated potable water, untreated potable groundwater, non-potable fresh water, sea water and reagent water.

Soil, Sediment, Biosolids: All soil/ sediment types (e.g. clay, sand, top soil, compost, fresh and marine sediments) and wastewater treatment plant biosolids.

Blood/Serum/Milk: Animal and human blood (whole blood and serum). Animal and human milk.

Vegetation and Tissue: Citrus, tomato, zucchini, squash, grasses; muscle tissue of fish, crustaceans, cow, sheep; kidney tissue of sheep and cow; and chicken egg, grapes, olives and avocado.

Liver: Sheep and cow liver.

Table 1.  Reporting limits for key matrices.

Matrix Reporting Limit

1.0 ng/L - for assessment against various drinking water guidelines.

0.1 ng/L - for assessment against the interim screening levels for freshwater for PFOS for 99% protection of freshwater species of 0.00023 μg/L (0.23 ng/L; DER, 20171).

Soil 0.1 ng/g
Serum, Blood & Milk

0.1 ng/mL

Vegetation, Tissues, Eggs 0.1 ng/g
Liver & High Fat Vegetables 1.0 ng/g

1DER, 2017: Interim Guideline on the Assessment and Management of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Contaminated Sites Guidelines, Government of Western Australia Department of Environmental Regulation (Version: 2.1).

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