Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Diagnostics and Chemical Markers of Exposure

The Organic Analytical Toxicology Branch develops and performs unique laboratory tests to measure organic environmental chemicals in people. Examples of available laboratory tests are shown in the table above. It lists the most common names for these chemicals, and their Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Numbers. Many of the chemicals, however, go by alternative names. Please visit the National Library of Medicine ChemID database websiteexternal icon and enter the chemical’s CAS Number. The page displayed after this search will include the chemical’s structure, and alternative names.

Laboratory Methods Panels

CDC’s laboratory methods are intended to evaluate population exposures and to support states in situations considered a public health concern. Please see the “Methods’ Access” tab in the tables found after clicking on each of the listed chemicals for additional information regarding these methods. Currently, CDC’s Organic Analytical Toxicology Branch does not have the capability of generating pilot or preliminary results in support of proposals to obtain public or private funds for a larger project.

Table of laboratory methods panels for Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Chemical Specimen Type
2-(N-Methyl-Perfluorooctane sulfonamido) acetic acid
CAS No. 2355-31-9
serum or plasma
Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid
CAS No. 375-73-5
serum or plasma
Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid
CAS No. 355-46-4
serum or plasma
Perfluoroheptanoic acid
CAS No. 375-85-9
serum or plasma
n-Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
CAS No. 1763-23-1
serum or plasma
Perfluoromethylheptane sulfonic acids (methyl branched PFOS)
CAS No. 1763-23-1
serum or plasma
n-Perfluorooctanoic acid
CAS No. 335-67-1
serum or plasma
Branched Perfluorooctanoic acids
serum or plasma
Perfluorononanoic acid
CAS No. 375-95-1
serum or plasma
Perfluorodecanoic acid
CAS No. 335-76-2
serum or plasma
Perfluoroundecanoic acid
CAS No. 2058-94-8
serum or plasma
Perfluorododecanoic acid
CAS No. 307-55-1
serum or plasma

Laboratory Method: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/nhanes_13_14/PFAS_H_MET.pdfpdf icon

Prenatal Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Body Fatness in Girls
Hartman TJ, Calafat AM, Holmes AK, Marcus M, Northstone K, Flanders WD, Kato K, Taylor EV. Child Obes. 2017 Jan 27. doi: 10.1089/chi.2016.0126. [Epub ahead of print]
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/chi.2016.0126external icon

Prenatal Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Adiposity in Early and Mid-Childhood
Mora AM, Oken E, Rifas-Shiman SL, Webster TF, Gillman MW, Calafat AM, Ye X, Sagiv SK. Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Mar;125(3):467-473. doi: 10.1289/EHP246.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5332178/pdf/EHP246.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

Early-Life Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Childhood Metabolic Function
Fleisch AF, Rifas-Shiman SL, Mora AM, Calafat AM, Ye X, Luttmann-Gibson H, Gillman MW, Oken E, Sagiv SK. Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Mar;125(3):481-487. doi: 10.1289/EHP303.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5332186/pdf/EHP303.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

Predictors of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) plasma concentrations in 6-10 year old American children
Harris MH, Rifas-Shiman SL, Calafat AM, Ye X, Mora AM, Webster TF, Oken E, Sagiv SK. Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Mar 22. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b05811. [Epub ahead of print]
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.est.6b05811external icon

Prenatal perfluoroalkyl substance exposure and child adiposity at 8 years of age: The HOME study
Braun JM, Chen A, Romano ME, Calafat AM, Webster GM, Yolton K, Lanphear BP. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Jan;24(1):231-7. doi: 10.1002/oby.21258.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688224/pdf/nihms711823.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

Maternal serum perfluoroalkyl substances during pregnancy and duration of breastfeeding
Romano ME, Xu Y, Calafat AM, Yolton K, Chen A, Webster GM, Eliot MN, Howard CR, Lanphear BP, Braun JM. Environ Res. 2016 Aug;149:239-46. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.04.034.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001393511630158Xexternal icon

Perfluoroalkyl substance serum concentrations and immune response to FluMist vaccination among healthy adults
Stein CR, Ge Y, Wolff MS, Ye X, Calafat AM, Kraus T, Moran TM. Environ Res. 2016 Aug;149:171-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.05.020.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001393511630192Xexternal icon

Prenatal polybrominated diphenyl ether and perfluoroalkyl substance exposures and executive function in school-age children
Vuong AM, Yolton K, Webster GM, Sjödin A, Calafat AM, Braun JM, Dietrich KN, Lanphear BP, Chen A. Environ Res. 2016 May;147:556-64. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.01.008.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5132628/pdf/EHP139.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

Sociodemographic and perinatal predictors of early pregnancy per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) concentrations
Sagiv S, Rifas-Shiman SL, Webster TF, Mora AM, Harris MH, Calafat AM, Ye X, Gillman MW, Oken E. Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Oct 6;49(19):11849-58. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b02489. Epub 2015 Sep 11.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4638415/pdf/nihms729839.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

Prenatal Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Acids and Serum Testosterone Concentrations at 15 Years of Age in Female ALSPAC Study Participants
Maisonet M, Calafat AM, Marcus M, Jaakkola JJ, Lashen H. Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Dec;123(12):1325-30. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1408847. Epub 2015 Jun 2.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4671244/pdf/ehp.1408847.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

Perfluoroalkyl Substances during Pregnancy and Offspring Weight and Adiposity at Birth: Examining Mediation by Maternal Fasting Glucose in the Healthy Start Study
Starling AP, Adgate JL, Hamman RF, Kechris K, Calafat AM, Ye X, Dabelea D. Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Jun 26;125(6):067016. doi: 10.1289/EHP641.
https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/EHP641.alt_.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in human serum and urine samples from a residentially exposed community
Worley RR, Moore SM, Tierney BC, Ye X, Calafat AM, Campbell S, Woudneh MB, Fisher J. Environ Int. 2017 Sep;106:135-143. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.06.007. Epub 2017 Jun 20.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412017304270external icon

Polyfluoroalkyl substance exposure in the Mid-Ohio River Valley, 1991-2012
Herrick RL, Buckholz J, Biro FM, Calafat AM, Ye X, Xie C, Pinney SM. Environ Pollut. 2017 Sep;228:50-60. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.04.092. Epub 2017 May 13.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749117301264external icon

Changes in serum concentrations of maternal poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances over the course of pregnancy and predictors of exposure in a multiethnic cohort of Cincinnati, Ohio pregnant women during 2003-2006
Kato K, Wong LY, Chen A, Dunbar C, Webster GM, Lanphear BP, Calafat AM. Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Aug 19;48(16):9600-8. doi: 10.1021/es501811k. Epub 2014 Jul 29.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140533/pdf/es501811k.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

CDC’s laboratory methods are intended to evaluate population exposures and to support states in situations considered a public health concern. CDC does not provide individual health care or assessment unless as part of a broader public health investigation requested by federal or state agencies, such as a health department. Currently, CDC’s Organic Analytical Toxicology Branch does not have the capability of generating pilot or preliminary results in support of proposals to obtain public or private funds for a larger project.

Detecting levels of an environmental chemical in a person’s blood or urine does not necessarily mean the chemical will cause adverse health effects or disease. Advances in analytical methods enable CDC to measure very low levels of environmental chemicals in people, but research studies of varying levels of exposure are needed to determine if specific levels cause health effects. Consulting a clinician with a toxicological background to assist with the interpretation of results is recommended.

Samples to be tested should be processed through a state health department laboratory, and should conform to the laboratory’s reporting procedures. These laboratory methods often require that the sample be collected by a particular method, or sometimes with particular pre-screened collection devices, to minimize external contamination. Following the correct sample collection protocol is necessary for accurate sample measurement. Please contact the laboratory that will be analyzing the sample to learn the sample collection instructions before collecting the samples.

Contact DLSLab@cdc.gov for more information or questions about these laboratory methods.

Page last reviewed: March 6, 2019