Perfluorinated organic substances

Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) or perfluorinated organic substances (PFOS) are used in a wide variety of industrial applications [13]. As a consequence these compounds show a global distribution in the environment [14]. They have been detected not only in environmental samples and fish but also in human blood and liver, and in several wildlife species [15]. PFOS show persistence in the environment and some of them have been related to different carcinogenic actions, for example, perfluorooctanoic acid has been identified as a potent hepatocarcinogen in rodents [16]. Meanwhile PFOS have been recognized by the EFSA and concentration levels, contamination pathways and toxicological potency should be assessed in the food chain.

So far most of the analysis methods are based on liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry or tandem mass spectrometry approaches (LC/MS,

LC/MS/MS) preceded by solid-phase extraction. A key issue is the avoidance of contamination during sampling, storage and analysis: PFOS are everywhere inside the laboratory and its instruments. The specific chemical and physical properties of PFOS hinder the development of rapid screening methods: it is for example unlikely that antibodies can be raised successfully against the PFOS family, no biorecognition-based methods have been reported yet. Still many challenges remain even for the LC/MS approach: the development of simplified sample preparation protocols and harmonization of methods are key issues anyway.

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