Challenges in the analytical determination of ultra-short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids and implications for environmental and human health

By Maria K Björnsdotter, Leo W Y Yeung, Anna Kärrman, and Ingrid Ericson Jogsten
Anal Bioanal Chem
May 19, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s00216-020-02692-8

Ultra-short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids have recently gained attention due to increasing environmental concentrations being observed. The most well-known ultra-short-chain perfluoroalkyl acid is trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) which has been studied since the 1990s. Potential sources and the fate of ultra-short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids other than TFA are not well studied and data reporting their environmental occurrence is scarce. The analytical determination of ultra-short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids is challenging due to their high polarity resulting in low retention using reversed-phase liquid chromatography. Furthermore, recent studies have reported varying extraction recoveries in water samples depending on the water matrix and different methods have been suggested to increase the extraction recovery. The present review gives an overview of the currently used analytical methods and summarizes the findings regarding potential analytical challenges. In addition, the current state of knowledge regarding TFA and other ultra-short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids, namely perfluoropropanoic acid, trifluoromethane sulfonic acid, perfluoroethane sulfonic acid, and perfluoropropane sulfonic acid' are reviewed. Both known and potential sources as well as environmental concentrations are summarized and discussed together with their fate and the environmental and human implications.

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