Journal Article

Total Mercury in the Hair of Children by Combustion Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (Comb-AAS)

Sergi Diez, Paolo Montuori, Xavier Querol and Josep M. Bayona

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 31, issue 3, pages 144-149
Published in print April 2007 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online April 2007 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/31.3.144
Total Mercury in the Hair of Children by Combustion Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (Comb-AAS)

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A simple and rapid procedure for measuring total mercury in human hair was evaluated and compared with a conventional technique. An Advanced Mercury Analyzer (AMA-254) based on sample catalytic combustion, preconcentration by gold amalgamation, thermal desorption, and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) (Comb-AAS) was assessed for the direct determination of milligram quantities of human hair. Precision (% relative standard deviation) was < 7% and accuracy was determined by using two human hair reference materials (i.e., NIES No. 13 and IAEA-086) that were within the certified range. In comparison to conventional graphite-furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry (GF-AAS), we found that our method obtained statistically equivalent results. Because total analysis time per sample was less than 10 min, the Comb-AAS method was in fact much faster than the GF-AAS method. In addition, Comb-AAS does not generate waste products and could be mainly useful for the analysis of a large amount of samples. Then, the authors suggest that this quick method could he useful for measuring mercury in human hair. Therefore, the mercury content in hair for a non-exposed group of children (n = 40) living in Spain was evaluated. The mean and median hair mercury levels for the subjects under study were found to be lower than the value of 1 µg/g, corresponding to the reference dose of 0.1 µg of methylmercury per kilogram body weight set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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