The prevalence of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) that persist and accumulate in the environment (as well as in our own bodies) is becoming an increasing international concern. PFASs are a class of nearly 10,000 different compounds more commonly known as «forever chemicals» due to their stability. They are a challenge to monitor individually and quantify in low concentrations. Expensive analytical instrumentation and experience is required to determine a small selection of individual PFASs, and such analyses can be time-consuming and difficult to validate.
A large fraction of synthetic organofluorine substances is assumed to be covered by the sum of all adsorbable fluorine in waters (AOF). Measuring AOF with combustion ion chromatography (CIC) is simpler and faster than targeted analysis methods, and also more sensitive than total fluorine (TF) determination (comprising all organic and inorganic F). Measurement of AOF in water samples as an initial screening step gives a fast overview of the actual amount of organic fluorinated compounds present. This can be followed by targeted analyses of individual PFASs if indicated by higher AOF concentrations.