March 2022

Which PFAS Testing Method is Right For Me?

By now you have probably heard of PFAS and maybe you want to, or are being required to, measure the PFAS levels in your water. The information surrounding PFAS testing is constantly evolving, so you are not alone if you have questions.

 

If you are looking to submit samples for analysis, ARA currently offers three options for PFAS testing: EPA Method 537.1, EPA Method 533, and a "modified" version of Method 533.  Here’s a brief breakdown of each method:

 

     EPA Method 537.1: A drinking water method that utilizes internal standard calibration to correct for typical variations in instrument conditions.  This method is suitable for drinking water samples that are likely to be free from significant matrix interferences. The reported list of analytes covers all compounds that have had limits or guidance set by New England states.

 

     EPA Method 533: Another drinking water method that utilizes isotope dilution calibration that corrects for both variable instrument conditions and extraction efficiency. Similar to method 537.1, method 533 is best suited to drinking water samples that are likely to be free from significant matrix interferences. Method 533 reports a longer list of analytes than method 537.1. There are many shared analytes between method 537.1 and method 533, but 533 substitutes a few of the long chain PFAS analytes reported by method 537.1 for a number of short chain analytes that cannot be extracted by method 537.1.  

 

     ARA 533 "modified" Method (LC-MS/MS / isotope dilution): Similar to method 533, this method utilizes isotope dilution calibration to provide the most accurate results possible. This method includes additional cleanup procedures designed to minimize interferences commonly found in non-drinking water matrices, such as groundwater or pre-treatment well water. This method also reports the widest range of compounds, covering both short chain and long chain PFAS compounds. 

 

Questions? Just Ask!

PFAS methods, MCLs, and detection limits vary from state to state and project to project. ARA continues to add state certifications, methods, and compounds as the PFAS landscape evolves. Let us know if you have questions about pricing, limits, compound lists, etc.

 

Sound Advice: Get a Noise Survey! 

Raising your voice when speaking to co-workers is never ideal, but what if you don't have a choice? If your employees are forced to shout because your workplace is just plain noisy, you may want to look into getting a "Noise Survey." 

 

What & Why
According to the CDC, over 20 million Americans may be exposed to potentially harmful noise levels at their workplace. Besides stress and headaches, the effects of sustained noise exposure may include ringing in the ears, risk for hearing loss, and has even been linked to heart disease.  

 

Many employers (and their employees) don't realize that OSHA has developed rules and standards to protect us from harmful noise exposure at work. 
 

How Much is Too Much?
In order to protect employees from hearing loss and related issues, OSHA now requires that those who are exposed to average noise levels of 85 dB or greater during an 8 hour workday be placed in a "hearing conservation program".  

 

A Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) involves implementing various activities and procedures specifically designed to help prevent hearing loss, while preserving and protecting remaining hearing. These programs also provide workers with resources and hearing protection devices. 

 

Not all companies are required to have a Hearing Conservation Program in place, but if you observe any of the following, you should have your worksite noise levels measured: 

  • Employee complaints about noise level
  • Having to shout over the noise from a short distance
  • Employees experiencing hearing loss
  • Employees with ringing ears after leaving work

 

ARA is able to perform a noise survey at your New England site. Our IAQ staff has been hired to measure noise in an entire area, as well as personal monitoring for an 8 hour exposure. If you'd like more information or want to schedule a noise survey at your company, just email us at [email protected]

 

Where are they Now? 
We choose wisely when hiring interns here at ARA, and their future success is evidence of that! Here’s an update on a few of our former interns who are off doing great things in, and for, the world! 
 
 Madeline Kelsch
Madeline joined us during school breaks as a teen and while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies from Lewis & Clark College.
After receiving her Masters Degree from UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, Madeline was hired by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where she now works as a Civil Engineering Associate. Congratulations on all of your hard work and amazing success, Madeline ! 
 
 Hannah Gennaro
 
Hannah became aware of the importance of environmental chemistry at a very young age, and worked off and on at ARA in various capacities in her teens. Now majoring in Chemistry, with a Math minor, at Stonehill College in Easton, MA, Hannah is a Teaching Assistant and Lab Assistant for the Chemistry Department, and is very active with various campus sustainability projects. She was invited to present research with her peers at the American Chemical Society Conference in San Diego, CA this month! Her future plans are to pursue a PhD in Chemistry and share her passion for chemistry and the environment with the next generation. Way to go, Hannah! 
 
Emmalyn May
Emma interned at ARA for several years before heading off to Beloit College in Wisconsin in 2019, where she is pursuing a triple major in Geology, Environmental Biology, and Studio Art. In her ‘spare time,” Emma is also a Teaching Assistant for the Geology Department, and member of the schools sustainability club (Green Team). Emma was recipient of the Bartholomew Kunny Biology Scholarship and the Sarah Wallbank Memorial Prize in Geology, recognized for academic excellence, dedication, and remarkable enthusiasm. This summer Emma will be working as an Expedition Leader at the Montana Conservation Corps, leading groups doing conservation work in the backcountry. Exciting and important work; congratulations Emma! 
 

Are you, or do you know, a former ARA intern with a great story to tell? We’d love to hear from you! Call, swing by, or email us at [email protected]absoluteresourceassociates.com to be considered for our next issue! 

 

 

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