Isomer Profiling of Perfluorinated Substances as a Tool for Source Tracking: A Review of Early Findings and Future Applications

  • Jonathan P. Benskin
  • Amila O. De Silva
  • Jonathan W. Martin
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 208)


The ubiquitous detection of perfluorinated acids (PFAs) and their precursors (PFA precursors) in the global environment has led to concern over their effects in humans and wildlife. This is exacerbated by evidence of developmental toxicity (Lau et al. 2007; Apelberg et al. 2007; Fei et al. 2008), along with persistence, chain length-dependent bioaccumulation potential (Houde et al. 2006), and long-range transport potential (Wallington et al. 2006; Wania 2007; Armitage et al. 2006, 2009a, b). In the over half-century of global perfluorochemical manufacturing, the two most commonly used synthetic methods have produced products with very different isomeric purities. Despite the fact that both branched and linear PFA and PFA-precursor isomers exist in the environment, quantitative analysis of these chemicals is, for the most part, still conducted by eluting all isomers together and integrating them as a single peak. This practice has continued despite the fact that emerging literature suggests that more accurate and informative data can be generated by isomer-specific analysis.


Polar Bear Ringed Seal Linear Isomer Isomer Separation Isomer Pattern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The 3 M Co. is thanked for providing a generous donation of ECF FOSA, PFOS, and PFOA. Funding for NSERC VF (ADS) was provided by Chemicals Management Plan, Science and Risk Assessment Directorate to Derek Muir, EC Burlington. Funding for materials, supplies, and instrument time was provided through an NSERC Discovery Grant, an Alberta Ingenuity New Faculty Grant (JWM), and an Alberta Ingenuity graduate student scholarship (JPB). Alberta Health and Wellness is thanked for support of laboratory activities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan P. Benskin
    • 1
  • Amila O. De Silva
    • 2
  • Jonathan W. Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Analytical and Environmental Toxicology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Environment Canada, Water Science and Technology DirectorateBurlingtonCanada

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