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Applied PFAS Forensics: Beyond the Basics
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Increasingly when we detect per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment, we need tools to identify sources and differentiate potential releases from "anthropogenic background."

Despite the ubiquity of PFAS in the environment, the absolute and relative abundance of individual compounds in a sample can be utilized to identify distinct PFAS forensic signatures or "fingerprints".

As PFAS forensics emerges as a field, many of the forensic techniques established for other complex contaminant mixtures, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are being adapted. In addition, the complex chemistry of PFAS has also led to several novel forensic techniques unique to PFAS. PFAS forensics tools can enable the differentiation of sources, establish the timing of releases, and determine if the detected PFAS are clearly associated with a distinct process/release or represent background levels.

This presentation will provide an overview of PFAS forensics and how these tools can be used to identify and differentiate sources. Case studies will then be presented in which forensic techniques have been applied to assess the composition of PFAS detected in environmental media and determine if detections are indicative of a single source or multiple sources. The presentation will demonstrate how PFAS forensics can be used to contextualize results and provide clients and regulators with valuable information when evaluating PFAS detections in environmental samples.

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Dylan Eberle
  • All Authors: Dylan Eberle
  • Title: The National Groundwater Association (NGWA) webinar
  • Event or Publication: Event
  • Practice Areas: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
  • Citation: Dylan Eberle, Ph.D., (Massachusetts) will present "Applied PFAS Forensics: Beyond the Basics" at a National Groundwater Association (NGWA) webinar at 12:00 p.m. ET on February 24, 2021.
  • Date: February 24, 2021
  • Location: Webinar
  • Publication Type: Platform Presentation