Measuring total PFASs in water: The tradeoff between selectivity and inclusivity

Carrie A. McDonough, Jennifer L. Guelfo, Christopher P. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Millions of people around the world may be exposed to drinking water impacted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) at levels exceeding local or national advisories. Many studies indicate that the full extent of PFAS contamination is significantly underestimated when only targeted analytical methods are used. Here, we review techniques using bulk organofluorine measurement to quantify the (as of yet) unidentified fraction of PFASs. We discuss advantages and disadvantages of specific approaches and their applicability to water analysis with a focus on the tradeoff between selectivity and inclusivity, and provide suggestions for a path forward to better characterize the wide array of PFASs present in environmental samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Science and Health
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Drinking water
  • Nontarget analysis
  • Organic fluorine
  • PFAS


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