Due to the lack of an EPA published method for analysis of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in media other than drinking water, there is the potential for greater variability in analytical results from laboratory to laboratory.  To this end, there have been multiple statements of needs from across the PFAS community to focus on validation, accuracy, and reproducibility of PFAS data in a variety of matrices.  Currently, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has provided measurements of PFAS in ten different reference materials, including human serum, human plasma, fish tissue, house dust, soil, and domestic sludge.  These materials are useful for the development and validation of methods; however, the concentrations in these reference materials are significantly lower compared to the concentrations in some source materials, such as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF).  The project will build upon existing expertise in developing and providing reference materials to create an AFFF PFAS reference material.  This material could be a tool to help evaluate the ability of laboratories to analyze various media that have been impacted by AFFF and AFFF source material itself.

Technical Approach

NIST Reference Materials (RMs) 8690, 8691, 8692, and 8693 PFAS in AFFFs

Under the proposed research, an AFFF PFAS reference material (or suite of materials) will be created using existing materials.  This material will be used to ensure laboratories that perform analysis of AFFF formulations and AFFF impacted media (high concentration samples) are able to achieve accurate quantitation of those PFAS present as well as the limit of quantitation (LOQ) possible for those not detected.

A reference material, or suite of reference materials, would be created based on an AFFF material at a 1:10 dilution. This material will be used during a round robin study to test utility and community agreeableness to this type of material. The reference material would be homogeneous, shelf‐stable and available to academic, government, and contract laboratories. In addition, this material would support the measurement needs of the Department of Defense, new technologies looking at remediation, and the analytical laboratories.

The creation of an AFFF reference material can be used by the PFAS measurement community to underpin their quantitative and qualitative data. The individual unit volume and concentration would be specifically designed to be applicable for targeted environmental analysis, as well as fate, transport, and remediation studies.


An AFFF reference material will address the current measurement needs of the PFAS analytical community.  By creating a certified AFFF material, with known quantities of PFAS, contract laboratories will be able to provide accurate and comparable results for PFAS measurements. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2023)


Reiner, J.L., B.J. Place, N.A. Heckert, K.T. Peter, and A.E. Rodowa. 2023. Characterization of Reference Materials 8690 to 8693 Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Four Formulations of Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFFs). NIST Special Publication, 260-234. doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.260-234.