• Mercury in Air, Water and Soils

Environmental Laboratory

Mercury in Air, Water and Soils

Aug 18 2016

For over 30 years P S Analytical (PSA) has been at the forefront of trace mercury (Hg) determinations from environmental samples. Understanding the fate and transportation of Hg is vitally important and this requires accurate analytical measurements.

Hg, from natural and anthropogenic sources, cycles between land, air and water. When atmospheric Hg enters the water column it can be converted to methylmercury by microbial activity and subsequently bio-accumulated by fish and other aquatic species.

The toxicological effects of Hg have long been realised and recently has there has been an international effort to reduce Hg emissions. Effective control and reduction of Hg emissions is the ultimate aim and these efforts, all of which need to be accurately monitored.

PSA employs Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry (AFS) to determine Hg and also offers online Hg analysers to monitor mercury emitted from industrial sources.

Employing AFS has many advantages for Hg determinations. These include; sub ngL-1 limits of detection, a linear response over several orders and minimised interferences from other matrix components. PSA’s unique flow cell design, removing troublesome glass or quartz material, results in reduced carryover for faster throughput. Ease of use, reliability and robustness as well as very affordable running costs are hallmarks of the PSA brand.

The three corner stones of PSA’s product range for determinations are the Millennium Merlin, the Millennium Excalibur and the Sir Galahad. The Sir Galahad is typically used for the determination of Hg in gaseous applications such as stack gas, natural gas and air, whilst the Millennium Merlin is used for liquid and solid samples and is based upon cold vapour generation. The Millennium Excalibur employs hydride generation chemistry and is ideal for ultra trace determinations of As, Se and the other hydride elements.

Typical applications include environmental samples such as ground water, drinking water, food stuffs (e.g. milk, rice, fish & tea), soils & sludges, clinical samples (e.g. urine, blood and hair), industrial effluents including concentrated acids.  An additional amalgamation step reduces the detection levels still further. The Millennium Merlin 1631 can run the same applications as the Millennium Merlin but is typically used for water samples where a detection limit below 0.05ppt is required.

With the coupling of the dedicated speciation modules PSA are able to integrate chromatography and digestion processes to facilitate speciation studies for these elements. Much of the revenue generated by PSA is invested back to our R&D department to develop novel hardware and applications to continue to support our customers and their analytical needs.

Whether it’s in the supply of standard systems or to producing specialised systems tailored to user’s specific requirements, the results and sensitivity of our instrumentation has forged our place as company of choice in the field of analytical instrumentation. With literally thousands of systems in the field today, and support networks in Europe, USA and SE Asia, PSA offers the ideal package of performance, reliability and support.


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