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PFAS Sampling System

PFAS Sampling System

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used since the 1940s. There are nearly 5,000 different types of PFAS, some of which have been more widely used and studied than others. They are found in a wide range of consumer products and facilities. Most people have been exposed, they can accumulate in the body and can stay for long periods of time. There is evidence that exposure may lead to adverse health effects. Many chemicals have been banned or voluntary taken off the market however substitute PFAS alternatives have also been linked to health complications.



About PFAS

PFAS can be found in:

  • Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
  • Commercial household products, including stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).
  • Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.
  • Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).
  • Living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

Certain PFAS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States as a result of phase outs including the PFOA Stewardship Program in which eight major chemical manufacturers agreed to eliminate the use of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals in their products and as emissions from their facilities. Although PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the United States, they are still produced internationally and can be imported into the United States in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber and plastics.

The widespread use of PFAS and their ability to remain intact in the environment means that over time PFAS levels from past and current uses can result in increasing levels of environmental contamination. 

Under the PFAS Action Plan, the EPA is working to better characterize and understand the environmental impacts of PFAS emitted to the air. The research the EPA is engaged in will build on the foundation that has been established to develop sampling and measurement methods for PFAS in air, assess effectiveness of PFAS disposal methods, and understand the efficacy of emission control technology.

Test programs confirmed that stack emissions from industrial facilities contribute to ground and surface water contamination (NC DEQ 2019b). As in the case of ambient air measurements, no USEPA FRMs are available specifically for the measurement of PFAS from stationary sources. In these tests PFAS were measured using USEPA SW846 Method 0010 (Modified EPA Method 5 Sampling Train) (USEPA 1986), a method designed for measurement of semivolatile organic compounds.

PFAS can be partitioned in stack emissions into several different fractions due to the physical properties of these species. At the elevated temperatures typically encountered in stack emissions the vapor pressure can be sufficiently high that some is present in the gas phase. The lower molecular weight fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) have lower boiling points and so may primarily be present as vapors. PFAS can adsorb to particulate matter, are highly water soluble, and can dissolve in water droplets if present in the stack. To measure these partitioned fractions, the stack effluent is sampled isokinetically (that is, the air enters the probe at the same velocity as it is moving in the stack, to accurately sample particles and droplets) and captured on a heated filter, an XAD-2 sorbent resin tube, and in water impingers. In some test programs a second XAD-2 sorbent cartridge is included in the sample train to determine if breakthrough has occurred. The filter, sorbent cartridge, and water impingers are recovered separately, and the sample train components are rinsed with a methanol/ammonium hydroxide solution.

Our PFAS Sampling System

Apex Instruments has developed a new PFAS glassware train based on the current EPA Method in development. The train is a modified method 5 system with the addition of our new compact vertical condenser and two additional XAD sorbent traps followed by knockout impingers.   


PFAS Sampling System Glassware with Compact Vertical Condenser and Two XAD Traps
PFAS Sampling System Glassware with Compact Vertical Condenser and Two XAD Traps


PFAS Individual Glassware Components

GNM-VCCCompact vertical condenser
GNM-TPXAD trap, #28 ball and socket, unground
Impinger assembly, plain stem, 500 mL, unground O-ring Joints, modified Greenburg-Smith
Impinger assembly, stem with orifice and plate, 500 mL, unground O-ring joints, Greenburg-Smith
Knock-out Impinger Assembly, Short Body Long Arm, Unground, (for HorizMM5)
3" Glass Filter Outlet, #28 Unground O-ring Ball
3" Glass Filter Outlet, #28 Unground O-ring Ball


PFAS System Accessories

GA-3SSRFilter disk, stainless steel, 3-inch
GA-3CAFilter clamp, 3-inch, aluminum
GA-GL-18BBored cap, #18 threads, red
GA-GL-18SSilicone seal rings, #18
GA-GL-18S8Silicone seal ring, #18 threads, 8-mm hole diameter, with PFA on top half
GL18-HBHose barb, GL18, 5/16 inch
O-116EO-ring, EPDM, dash size 116
O-123EO-ring, EPDM, dash size 123
O-126EO-ring, EPDM, dash size 126
O-152SO-ring, silicone, filter GA-3T
TL-8/5Tubing, 1/2-inch outer diameter, 5/16-inch inner diameter