PFAS or 'Perfluoroalkyl Substances' are organic compounds not found naturally but deriving from human industrial activity.
These molecules have a fully-fluorinated hydrophobic alkyl chain giving them interesting chemical-physical properties, as they are water and grease repellent and have a high thermal resistance.
On the one hand, these features have made PFAS key elements in many industrial processes since 1950s. Indeed, they are used as surfactants for mines and wells, cleaning products, cosmetic products, insecticides and paint and as protective coating for fabrics, leathers and MOCA.
They are components of Teflon®, the most famous non-stick coating of cooking pans, and in general of all the food packaging materials that need oil impermeability such as pizza boxes, fast-food wrappers, etc.
On the other hand, their very features make PFAS capable of generating bioaccumulation and biomagnification. They enter the environment with water through soil, vegetation, crops, and animals increasing in concentration along the food chain. In addition, data show that the materials in contact with food can be an additional source of contamination, further increasing the exposure to PFAS.
Many toxicological studies on perfluoroalkyl substances unfortunately showed many adverse effects on human health. PFAS are classified as endocrine disruptors, i.e. substances that can alter hormone homeostasis contributing to bring about thyroid diseases, immune system disorders, obesity, fertility problems, liver damage, kidney tumour, testicular cancer, hypertension in pregnancy, ulcerative colitis, and increased cholesterol. In addition, the risk of adverse health effects increases in the elderly and children who have been exposed since prenatal period.
For these reasons, the law sets out the maximum levels of presence of PFAS in the water intended for human consumption and food. These levels are constantly updated on the basis of new scientific evidence in terms of human health safety.
As regards food, EU Regulation No 2023/915 sets forth maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs.
The evaluations that brought EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) to define these limits were based on the testing of the 4 main PFAS:
- PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid
- PFOS or perfluorooctane sulfonate
- PFNA or perfluorononanoic acid
- PFHxS or perfluorohexanesulfonic acid
and the main food matrices at risk of contamination:
- Fruit and products thereof
- Eggs and products thereof
White Lab Laboratories test food matrix quality and safety for safer food thanks to a wide range of state-of-the-art testing and technologies, in line with current regulations.
Find out our offer to identify and quantify the presence of PFAS in the water intended for human consumption, waste, foodstuffs, and MOCA.
White Lab's offer and more information on PFAS
- POP’s EU Regulation No 2019/1021 and revisions
- Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 candidate list of SVHC
- Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 Restricted substance by Annex XVII
- OEKO-TEX - STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX
- Regional Decree of Veneto Region No 1590 of 03 October 2017 on water intended for human consumption in line with method Reports ISTISAN 2019/7 Met ISS CBA 051
- Italian Legislative Decree No 18/2023 on water intended for human consumption in line with method Reports ISTISAN 2019/7 Met ISS CBA 051
- Regulation No 10/2011 on plastic articles intended to come into contact with food
- Solid waste for inspection and verification of new facilities in line with ASTM D-7968-17a procedure
- Liquid waste for inspection and verification of new facilities in line with ASTM D-7979-20 procedure
- Waste water for inspection and verification of facilities in line with ASTM D-7979-20 procedure
- Groundwater in line with method Reports ISTISAN 2019/7 Met ISS CBA 051 and in line with ISO 25101:2009 standard
- M.T. Palumbo, S. Russo, S. Polesello, et. al. “Integrated Exposure and Algal Ecotoxicological Assessments of Efﬂuents from Secondary and Advanced‐Tertiary Wastewater‐Treatment Plants”. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2022; 10:2404-2419.
- M. Peruzzo, S. Valsecchi, A. Scalco, et. al. “Perfluoroalkyl acids concentrations in liquid wastes: a survey campaign and implications for waste disposal”. Norman Bulletin, 2019; 6:9-12.
- G. Coppola, S. Polesello, C. Ferrario, et. al. “Does the partitioning of perﬂuoroalkyl acids to soil depend on their chain length?”. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 2022; 6:1747-1749.
- G. Coppola, M. Peruzzo, M. Mazzola, et. al. “Determinazione sperimentale dei coefficienti di ripartizione liquido/solido (Kd) di sostanze perfluoroalchiliche (PFAS)su campioni di terreno”. Notiziario dei metodi analitici & IRSA news, 2022; 2:9-16.
Analysis and services
Soils and Sediments
Testing any type of soil and sediment for agronomic evaluation and remediation activities.
Testing and services to ensure that materials in contact with food are in compliance.
Consultancy, sampling and testing regarding CEMS, biogas, soil gas, biofilters, and odorous emissions.
Testing and services for tanning industry
Find out White Lab's comprehensive offer for companies operating in the tanning industry.
Indoor & Outdoor
Physical, chemical and microbiological testing to monitor air quality.