Agilent, EPA to study perfluorinated compounds in water, wildlife

March 10, 2009
Agilent Technologies Inc. announced it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Exposure Research Laboratory of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use the Agilent time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOF-MS) to detect and identify both known and unknown perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the environment...

CHICAGO, IL, Mar. 9, 2009 -- Agilent Technologies Inc. announced it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Exposure Research Laboratory of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use the Agilent time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOF-MS) to detect and identify both known and unknown perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the environment.

The study of perflourinated organic compounds in the environment has increased recently as a result of continued studies that indicate their distribution, persistence, and toxicity in the environment and biological systems. The collaborative efforts between the National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) and Agilent will focus on identifying PFOS and PFOA (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid -- both used in a variety of commercial products) isomers and related compounds while characterizing their environmental distributions and the potential pathways for human exposure.

"Agilent introduced the 'Accurate Mass' concept for our TOF and Q-TOF instruments to accelerate our push into the mass spectrometer market," said Mike McMullen, Agilent vice president and general manager, Chemical Analysis Solutions. "This environmental application is perfect for this level of accuracy and sensitivity."

The Agilent 6220 Accurate Mass TOF used in this CRADA will help EPA detect and identify compounds in part-per-trillion range. This capability, along with Agilent MassHunter software, is well-suited for detecting and identifying very small amounts of unknown compounds. Agilent's part of the agreement will be to provide the instrumentation, including a liquid chromatograph, software and support. NERL will design specific studies, obtain samples, conduct analyses and quality check the process.

"PFCs are typically found in the environment at low levels," said Andy Lindstrom, PFC research lead in human exposure at NERL. "Agilent's technology is ideal for helping EPA identify PFCs in environmental samples and biological systems. This cooperative arrangement with Agilent will help EPA develop methods which accurately identify known PFCs, while we explore our samples for previously unidentified compounds."

The National Exposure Research Laboratory, one of three national laboratories in EPA's Office of Research and Development, conducts research and development that leads to improved methods, measurements and models to assess and predict exposures of humans and ecosystems to harmful pollutants and other conditions in air, water, soil and food.

Agilent Technologies Inc. is the world's premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis.

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