Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are widely used in the manufacturing of various industrial and consumer products including nonstick food packaging, stain repellents and aqueous film-forming foams. In a recent paper published in Chemosphere ( (2018) 199 168-173) by Adcharee Karnjanapiboonwong et al., UCT’s QuEChERS extraction salts (4,000 mg MgSO4/1,000 mg NaCl) were employed to extract PFAS and other carboxylic acid compounds from earthworms. This was the first study on earthworms in PFAS-spiked soil at background concentrations. It was found that PFASs can be detected in earthworms even in the 0.1 mg kg1 soil treatment after 21-day exposure.

The authors studied the effects of perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA) on earthworms in soils contaminated with these compounds at 0.1, 1, 10, 1,000, and 100,000 mg per kg dry weight. Earthworms were exposed to soils fortified with the PFAS compounds for 21 days.

Concentrations of these compounds in earthworms after 21- day exposure ranged from below detection to 127 mg per kg wet weight with the rank order of PFNA > PFHxS > PFHpA > PFBS. No mortality of earthworms was observed in all treatments including controls, with the exception of PFBS at 1,000 mg per kg and all PFASs at 100,000 mg per kg. The highest weight loss (29%) was observed for earthworms exposed to PFNA at 100,000 mg per kg, which was significantly different from all other treatments except PFHpA at 100,000 mg per kg.

These results are expected to fill gaps in toxicity data of PFASs in terrestrial environments and provide helpful information on the potential for trophic transport of PFASs from soil to higher organisms. This study demonstrates the efficiency of UCT’s QuEChERS extraction salts when applied to a unique environmental study. When environmental scientists require the finest in QuEChERS materials, they turn to UCT as their first choice. For more information regarding UCT’s QuEChERS extraction sorbents please turn to our website.