Agilent Technologies, EPA to Study PFCs in Water, Wildlife

Agilent Technologies Inc. has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the National Exposure Research Laboratory of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use the Agilent time-of-flight mass spectrometer to detect and identify both known and unknown perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the environment.

Studies indicate the distribution, persistence, and toxicity of PFCs in the environment and biological systems. The collaborative efforts between the lab and Agilent will focus on identifying PFOS and PFOA (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid – both used in a variety of commercial products) isomers and related compounds while characterizing their environmental distributions and the potential pathways for human exposure.

"Agilent introduced the ‘Accurate Mass’ concept for our TOF and Q-TOF instruments to accelerate our push into the mass spectrometer market," said Mike McMullen, Agilent vice president and general manager, Chemical Analysis Solutions. "This environmental application is perfect for this level of accuracy and sensitivity (in the parts per trillion range)."

Agilent’s part of the agreement will be to provide the instrumentation, including a liquid chromatograph, software, and support. The lab will design specific studies, obtain samples, conduct analyses, and quality check the process.

The National Exposure Research Laboratory, one of three national laboratories in EPA’s Office of Research and Development, conducts research and development that leads to improved methods, measurements, and models to assess and predict exposures of humans and ecosystems to harmful pollutants and other conditions in air, water, soil and food.