Environmental Laboratory

  • Universal mercury analyser with direct Hg determination for human biomonitoring

Universal mercury analyser with direct Hg determination for human biomonitoring

Jul 11 2019 Read 696 Times

Human biomonitoring (HBM) remains a high priority for medical and biomedical laboratories. Exposure to toxic metals is a special focus in HBM, while mercury is recognised by WHO as one of the top 10 chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern. HBM is included into the UNEP/WHO global observation system for mercury (GOS4M) in support of the Minamata Convention.

Elevated mercury concentrations can be found in food, water and air. Also, such cosmetic products as skin lightening soaps and creams, makeup cleansing products, and mascara can contain Hg concentrations above the safe limits. Another source of elemental mercury poisoning could be dental amalgam.

Mercury exposure level is determined by analysis of blood, urine, hair, and other biosamples. Those are complex matrices and require a powerful instrument to enable selective, sensitive and accurate measurement that guarantees that one measures exactly mercury.

Lumex Instruments universal atomic absorption mercury analyser RA-915M in combination with PYRO915+ pyrolytic attachment (for solid and liquid samples) provides direct mercury determination in all these biological samples at a ppb level. This enables fast screening of population exposure to mercury, revealing the risk groups, treatment and rehabilitation control. The equipment can be used at stationary and mobile laboratories.

Zeeman background correction used in RA-915M ensures selective determination of mercury, interference-free measurement, and does not involve preconcentration on a gold trap and “cooling step”, thereby eliminating errors brought by sample pre-treatment. There is no sample pre-treatment involved, control of non-selective absorption during the measurement process excludes analysis errors. The measurement range of biological samples varies from 2 to 200,000 ppb. The instrument has the highest selectivity and sensitivity on the market. Low running cost is achieved by using ambient air for combustion, so that no cylinders with oxidizer or compressed gases and ‘clean room’ environment are required. The total time needed for analysis of mercury is no longer than 2 minutes.

The above features make RA-915M an instrument of choice of hundreds of users around the world. For example, Lumex Instruments mercury analysers are widely used for the assessment of mercury pollution in the areas of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Latin America and South Asia. ASGM is the largest source of mercury pollution in the world. ASGM caused about 37,7% of global emissions and 70% of Latin America emissions of mercury in 2015 according to the UN Global Mercury Assessment 2018.

UNIDO team applied Lumex’ RA-915 for field and laboratory measurements within the Global Mercury Project. Mercury was measured in ambient and indoor air, soils and sediments, drinking, surface, and waste waters, local fish, vegetation, and foodstuff, and humans (hair, urine, blood, exhaled air). The mercury analyser toolkit from Lumex Instruments is recommended by leading experts as the best available technique for mercury environmental and human biomonitoring.

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