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ALS Czech Republic laboratory participated in a TOPA study in firefighting foams

Dec 6, 2021

According to the report [1] published by European Commission and European Chemical Agency, there are up to 20.000 tonnes of PFAS-based firefighting foams sold in the EU annually.

These foams are used mainly in the chemical industry; however, significant amount is used by fire brigades and military, both during the training activities and real fire incidents. The PFAS compounds are then penetrating environment – ground water reservoirs but contaminate also soil and sediment. Authorities in the EU are deeply concerned about PFAS contamination. Recently, EU has published Directive 2020/2184 which demands the monitoring of selected PFAS in drinking water.

PFAS is referred to as a group of thousands of individual analytes, the most known PFAS analytes are PFOS and PFOA. The fact that PFAS group consists of so many individual compounds, makes the analytical determination of all individual compounds virtually impossible. Therefore, TOP Assay (Total Oxidizable Precursor) method has been proposed as the tool to evaluate the “total” PFAS content. TOP Assay method uses a digestion procedure, under specific conditions, to decompose “unknown” PFAS analytes and convert them into more common and easier measured ones.

ALS Czech Republic participated in a study, organised by Intersolia Sweden AB on behalf of the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV). The goal of the study was to investigate if the TOP assay, optimised for PFAS-free firefighting foams, is a reliable analytical method for assessment whether a firefighting foam can be declared as PFAS-free. In this study, six PFAS-free foams and one regular PFAS-based foam (all samples selected by experts at FMV) were thoroughly tested. All results were statistically evaluated by Intersolia Sweden AB and relevant optimized method was proposed. According to Dr. Woldegiorgis (Intersolia Sweden AB), “the main overall conclusion from the study is that when the manufacturing, placing on the market, and use of fire-fighting foams becomes regulated, and regulatory bodies impose limit values for PFAS, then it is important, that extensive regulatory guidelines on analytical methods for verification of the limit values are provided.” ALS Czech Republic welcomes such initiatives and is proud to be part of such project.


[1] The use of PFAS and fluorine-free alternatives in fire-fighting foams d5b24e2a-d027-0168-cdd8-f723c675fa98 (