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PFAS Experts Symposium 2: An Update on Advances in Chemical Analysis of PFAS

Elizabeth Denly, Stephanie Fiorenza, Rock J. Vitale CEAC, Nick Nigro, Maureen C. Leahy, Charles Neslund, David R. Blye, Norman Farmer | January 17, 2022
As quickly as our understanding of the nature and extent of per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment has developed, the analytical chemistry tools we use to study and quantify them have evolved. The last 5 years have seen commercial laboratories scramble to analyze atypical and unusual samples submitted by concerned citizens and governmental agencies. The unusual matrices have pushed innovative sample extraction techniques, as the regulated community and the laboratories await a final multi-laboratory validated method to provide direction for the analysis of PFAS in matrices beyond drinking water. The large number of PFAS compounds has also sparked interest in the development of methods to screen for all PFAS without quantifying the individual constituents. Measurement of total PFAS is also useful in consumer product testing.
New methods to determine total PFAS are in varying stages of development and are described in detail herein. The fact that there are more PFAS chemicals than can be quantified by commercial laboratories has also promoted the development of nontarget analysis (NTA) using sophisticated instrumentation. This article provides the basis of NTA and examples of its novel applications in forensics and compound identification. The pace of change in PFAS chemical analysis is breathtaking and challenging for all those studying environmental impacts of PFAS. Updates on key topics as can be found in this article serve an important need for the remediation community.
Elizabeth Denly

Elizabeth Denly serves as TRC’s Vice President, PFAS Initiative Leader. She is also the Quality Assurance & Chemistry Director, responsible for the creation and implementation of the Quality Management Plan and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for field sampling and documentation protocols. Ms. Denly also leads Quality Coordinator networks, which are responsible for the development and communication of quality initiatives within the organization. She is a chemist with 29 years of consulting experience encompassing field and laboratory analyses and audits, QA/QC, data validation, and consulting for regulatory agencies.

Ms. Denly is a leader in ITRC’s PFAS and TPH Risk Work Groups and in TRC’s Center of Research & Expertise (CORE) Emerging Contaminants Team and received the ITRC’s Industry Member of the Year Award in 2017. She is currently focusing on PFAS, specifically the nomenclature, chemistry, sampling procedures, QA/QC, and laboratory analytical methodologies, and has a significant role in educating clients, attorneys, and regulators about PFAS.

As a senior QA specialist at TRC, Ms. Denly is responsible for providing QA/QC oversight in support of a variety of environmental investigations and remediation programs including risk-based soil cleanups, ambient air monitoring, and human health and ecological risk assessments. In this role, she has directed the preparation of QAPPs, coordination with the laboratory, selection of the appropriate analytical methodologies to achieve the desired remedial standards, oversight and performance of the data validation process, and determination of the usability of the data and achievement of data objectives. Ms. Denly has provided this oversight under different regulatory programs.
Read more on Ms. Denly’s bio page. Please contact her at

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