PFAS Testing

Analytical Testing for Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Absolute Resource Associates provides Certified Laboratory Analytical Services to identify and quantify Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in your environmental samples. ARA was the first New Hampshire based laboratory certified to test drinking water for PFAS.

We perform PFAS analysis on site at our laboratory in Portsmouth, NH.

ARA is certified for PFAS analysis in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Our typical PFAS analysis turnaround time is 10 business days.*

*Contact the lab for current TAT information
*Rush TAT may be available for an additional fee

What is PFAS?

PFAS is an acronym which stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been around for several decades, and have thousands of industrial and commercial applications.

PFAS is the umbrella name under which more than 9,000 different man-made compounds fall. Other terms associated with PFAS include PFOA, PFOS, C8, PFBS, perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), hexafluoropropylene oxide, (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt (referred to as GenX chemicals).

PFAS are often called “Forever Chemicals” in the media because they do not readily break down in the environment.

The PFAS chemical bond is extremely strong and stable, and it was discovered that these compounds are excellent at repelling heat, water and grease. Since the 1940’s, scientists and engineers have invented thousands of products and practical applications for PFAS, including GoreTex™ apparel, Teflon™ non-stick cookware, Scotchgard™ fabrics, firefighting foam, health and beauty products, and food packaging. Because their use is so widespread, and because these chemicals don’t readily break down, PFAS compounds are accumulating in the environment. According to the Center for Disease Control, almost every American likely has detectable levels of PFAS in their bloodstream.

What is PFAS exposure? 

Since PFAS are found in so many consumer and industrial products, have been in prevalent use for so long, and do not readily break down in the environment, experts have discovered that detectable and sometimes concerning levels of PFAS can be found in the air, soil, and water. According to the EPA, due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. Initial studies have indicated that at certain levels, PFAS exposure can cause health problems in humans. More studies are underway to determine the levels at which we are seeing a correlation between PFAS and health issues.

Where is PFAS found?

Geographically and environmentally, detectable levels of PFAS have been found in the air, soil and water in most US states, and locations all over the world. Manufacturing and processing facilities, airports, and military installations are the greatest potential contributors of PFAS in the environment. Folks who live in close proximity to these types of sites are encouraged to have their drinking water tested regularly for PFAS. The average American consumer can be exposed to low levels of PFAS by using any number of everyday consumable products including (some types of) flame retardant clothing, dental floss, sunscreens, bug spray, cookware, food packaging, take-out containers, household cleaning products, microwave popcorn, and more.

How am I exposed to PFAS? 

Because PFAS are found in so many products and have been in use since the 1940s, PFAS containing materials can be found in most households, schools, and businesses in the US. Exposure to PFAS is not uncommon, but exposure levels vary. You can become exposed to PFAS by:

  • drinking water that contains PFAS
  • consuming food that contains PFAS
  • using products that contain PFAS
  • consuming food with PFAS containing packaging (grease resistant wrappers, microwaveable bags, etc.)
  • exposure to some stain and water repellent textiles (including carpet, clothing and footwear)
  • using nonstick cookware
  • using PFAS containing polishes, waxes, paints, and cleaning products, beauty products, etc.
  • living in close proximity to a facility or military base that has used firefighting foam (aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF)
  • living in close proximity to a facility that manufactures PFAS or products containing PFAS.

Is PFAS exposure dangerous? 

Studies are ongoing to determine the effect of PFAS on human health. Initial studies by the CDC have shown that animals exposed to PFAS at high levels affected functions of the liver, thyroid, pancreas and hormone levels. Some studies in humans have shown that certain PFAS may affect growth, learning, and behavior in children, lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, may negatively affect hormones, cholesterol levels, the immune system, and may increase the risk of cancer.

From 2005 through 2013, studies were conducted by the C8 Science Panel which concluded that there was a probable link between C8 exposure and the following:

  • diagnosed high cholesterol
  • ulcerative colitis
  • thyroid disease
  • testicular cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension

EPA has stated that PFOA and PFOS are likely carcinogens.

Can PFAS cause cancer? 

Studies are underway around the world to determine the full effect of PFAS on human health, but EPA has stated that evidence suggests PFOA and PFOS are likely carcinogens.

Initial studies by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have shown that exposure to PFAS “may increase the risk of cancer,” and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, a division of the World Health Organization) has published epidemiological evidence linking exposure to kidney and testicular cancer.

From 2005 through 2013, studies were conducted by the C8 Science Panel which concluded that there was a probable link between PFOA exposure and the following: diagnosed high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Should I test for PFAS?  

If you are on a public water supply, ask your local water department for their latest water quality report. If you own a private well and live in close proximity to manufacturing or processing facilities, an airport, or military installation, you are very strongly encouraged to have your well water tested for PFAS. If you maintain a garden or crops and live near one of these facilities, you may also want to have your soil tested for PFAS. If you have been hearing or reading about PFAS and/or contaminated water in your local news, you are encouraged to have your water tested. Well owners should contact the town or state health department for water testing guidelines in your area, since PFAS is only one of several odorless, colorless, tasteless compounds that could be contaminating your drinking water.

How do I test for PFAS? 

If you live within proximity of our lab in Portsmouth, NH, stop in to pick up your specialized PFAS testing kit and instructions. If you are located outside of ARA’s service area, your town or state health department will be able to provide a list of certified laboratories in your area that can provide bottles and instructions for PFAS testing. Once you find a laboratory and obtain the proper bottles, just follow the instructions provided and return the samples promptly to your lab for analysis. Results can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month or more, depending on your location and the lab’s backlog.

How much does it cost to test for PFAS? 

The cost of PFAS testing will vary from lab to lab. There are thousands of different PFAS compounds, and therefore many different PFAS “Testing Packages” (ie, 3 compounds, 19 compounds, 26 compounds etc.) Most labs will fall in the range of $250 to $550 per sample, which provides analysis of several of the most common PFAS compounds. Email us for current pricing at ARA’s lab in NH.

How do I remove PFAS from my water? 

The same chemical properties that make PFAS so effective, also make them very difficult remediate. Research is being conducted all over the world to find practical solutions to remove PFAS from the environment. Some PFAS remediation technologies include:

  • activated carbon adsorption
  • ion exchange resins
  • high-pressure membranes

New technologies are being developed all the time. Costs vary depending on the size and type of PFAS remediation system. It is recommended that you start by researching the companies that claim to provide PFAS remediation in your geographical location. Ask your local health department for information on PFAS removal options and any possible reimbursement programs. You can learn more about in-home water treatment filters via this link from the US EPA.

How do I prevent PFAS exposure and contamination? 

Since the discovery of PFAS contamination in the environment,  the use of PFOA and PFOS in manufacturing in the United States has decreased significantly. However, there are thousands of other PFAS compounds, and detectable levels of PFAS have been found in the air, soil and water in most US states.

PFAS compounds do not readily break down. Eco-friendly alternatives are being researched and developed, but in the meantime, thousands of PFAS-containing products are still being created, used, and thrown into landfills on a daily basis.

Since PFAS chemicals are so widespread in the environment, completely preventing PFAS exposure is not likely, but further contamination can be minimized by stopping the manufacture and use of PFAS containing materials.

Citizens concerned about PFAS exposure should try to avoid using products known to contain PFAS, have their water tested regularly, and install PFAS water filtration systems when necessary.

You can also stay informed by reading news articles related to the topic, sign up for PFAS related updates from the EPA, CDC, and local health advisories, and avoid known products, consumables, and areas known to contain high levels of PFAS. If you are in an area known for PFAS contamination, have your well water tested regularly.

Helpful Links:

ARA provides Laboratory Analytical Services to identify and quantify PFAS in environmental samples for municipalities, state agencies, industrial clients and homeowners throughout New England.

ARA is certified for PFAS analysis in drinking water by EPA methods 537.1 and 533. We also offer PFAS via our Proprietary LC-MS/MS (isotope dilution) method for groundwater or other water samples (not for drinking water compliance). (EPA Method 1633 coming soon).

Our Proprietary Method option for PFAS analysis via LC-MS/MS, uses quantitation by isotope dilution employing a solid phase extraction (SPE), followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for the determination of select per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in non-potable water matrices.

ARA’s scientists and partners are committed to staying on top of the latest scientific information, methods, limits and changes, so that you can focus on your projects knowing you have the best PFAS resource in your corner. If you have any questions about PFAS testing or how to test for PFAS, give us a call or send an email today.

Analyte / Acronym CASRN
11-chloroeicosafluoro-3-oxaundecane-1-sulfonic acid


4:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
8:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanone-1-sulfonic acid        9CLPF3ONS
4,8-dioxa-3h-perfluorononanoic acid (ADONA acid)
perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA)
2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy) propanoic acid
(GenX acid) HFPODA
n-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamido acetic acid
n-methyl perfluorooctane sulfonamide
n-methylperfluorooctane sulfonamido acetic acid
perfluorobutanoic acid
perfluorobutane sulfonic acid


perfluorodecanoic acid
perfluorododecanoic acid
perfluorodecane sulfonic acid
perfluoroheptanoic acid
perfluoroheptane sulfonic acid


perfluorohexanoic acid
perfluorohexane sulfonic acid
perfluorononanoic acid
perfluorononanesulfonic acid
perfluorooctanoic acid
perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
perfluoropentanoic acid


perfluoropentane sulfonic acid


perfluorotetradecanoic acid


perfluorotridecanoic acid


perfluoroundecanoic acid


EPA Method 537.1 (18 compounds):
  • HFPO-DA   2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-
    (heptafluoropropoxy) propanoic acid (GenX acid)
  • NEtFOSAA  N-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic acid
  • NMeFOSAA  N-methyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic acid
  • PFBS  Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid
  • PFDA  Perfluorodecanoic acid
  • PFDoA  Perfluorododecanoic acid
  • PFHpA   Perfluoroheptanoic acid
  • PFHxS  Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid
  • PFHxA  Perfluorohexanoic acid
  • PFNA  Perfluorononanoic acid
  • PFOS  Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid
  • PFOA  Perfluorooctanoic acid
  • PFTeA (PFTeDA, PFTA)  Perfluorotetradecanoic acid
  • PFTRIA  Perfluorotridecanoic acid
  • PFUnA  Perfluoroundecanoic acid
  • 11Cl-PF3OUdS 11-chloroeicosafluoro-3-oxaundecane-1-sulfonic acid
  • 9Cl-PF3ONS  9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanone-1-sulfonic acid
  • ADONA  4,8-dioxa-3H-perfluorononanoic acid
EPA Method 533 (25 compounds):
  • 11Cl-PF3OUdS 11-chloroeicosafluoro-3-oxaundecane-1-sulfonic acid
  • 9Cl-PF3ONS  9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanone-1-sulfonic acid
  • HFPODA   2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy) propanoic acid (GenX acid)
  • PFBS  Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid
  • PFDA  Perfluorodecanoic acid
  • PFDoA  Perfluorododecanoic acid
  • ADONA  4,8-dioxa-3H-perfluorononanoic acid
  • 42FTS  4:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
  • PFHpA   Perfluoroheptanoic acid
  • PFHxS  Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid
  • PFHxA  Perfluorohexanoic acid
  • PFNA  Perfluorononanoic acid
  • PFOS  Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid
  • PFOA  Perfluorooctanoic acid
  • 62FTS 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
  • 82FTS  8:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
  • PFUnA  Perfluoroundecanoic acid
  • NFDHA  Nonafluoro-3,6-dioxaheptanoic acid
  • PFBA  perfluorobutanoic acid
  • PFEESA  perfluoro(2-ethoxyethane)sulfonic acid
  • PFHPS  perfluoroheptane sulfonic acid
  • PFMPA  perfluoro-3-methoxypropanoic acid
  • PFMBA  Perfluoro-4-methoxybutanoic acid
  • PFPA  perfluoropentanoic acid
  • PFPES  perfluoropentane sulfonic acid
LC-MS/MS (isotope dilution) Method (29 compounds)

this method is used for groundwater and other water samples (not for drinking water compliance): 

  • 11CLPF3OUDS  11-chloroeicosafluoro-3-oxaundecane-1-sulfonic acid
  • 42FTS  4:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
  • 62FTS   6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
  • 82FTS   8:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid
  • 9CLPF3ONS  9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanone-1-sulfonic acid
  • ADONA   4,8-dioxa-3h-perfluorononanoic acid (ADONA acid)
  • FOSA perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA)
  • HFPODA   2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy)propanoic acid (GenX acid)
  • NETFOSAA  n-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamido acetic acid
  • NMEFOSA   n-methyl perfluorooctane sulfonamide
  • NMEFOSAA   n-methylperfluorooctane sulfonamido acetic acid
  • PFBA  perfluorobutanoic acid
  • PFBS  perfluorobutane sulfonic acid
  • PFDA  perfluorodecanoic acid
  • PFDOA perfluorododecanoic acid
  • PFDS  perfluorodecane sulfonic acid
  • PFHPA  perfluoroheptanoic acid
  • PFHPS perfluoroheptane sulfonic acid
  • PFHXA perfluorohexanoic acid
  • PFHXS  perfluorohexane sulfonic acid
  • PFNA   perfluorononanoic acid
  • PFNS  perfluorononanesulfonic acid
  • PFOA   perfluorooctanoic acid
  • PFOS  perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
  • PFPA  perfluoropentanoic acid
  • PFPES perfluoropentane sulfonic acid
  • PFTEA  perfluorotetradecanoic acid
  • PFTRIA  perfluorotridecanoic acid
  • PFUNA perfluoroundecanoic acid
Sampling Notes:
  • Sample integrity is of the utmost importance when collecting PFAS samples.
  • Please help avoid trace or cross contamination of PFAS by adhering to the guidelines set forth by your state environmental services department, and the instructions provided by your lab.
  • Never use “Blue Ice” / gel refrigerants / cold packs to chill PFAS samples. Always chill PFAS samples with real ice.