Methodical and practical aspects related to total mercury determination in whole blood, urine and hair with mass-spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma

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543.064: 616-074

T.S. Ulanova1,2, E.V. Stenno1, G.A. Veikhman1,3, A.V. Nedoshitova1


1 Federal Scientific Centerfor Medical and Preventive Health Risk Management Technologies, 82 Monastyrskaya Str., Perm, 614045, Russian Federation
2 Perm National Research Polytechnic University, 29 Komsomolskiy avenue, Perm, 614990, Russian Federation
3Perm State Pharmaceutical Academy, 2 Polevaya Str., Perm, 614081, Russian Federation


A precise, selective, and sufficiently sensitive quantitative procedure for determining chemicals contents in environmental objects and a human body is often a key to correct health risk assessment.

The authors describe optimized conditions for analyzing whole blood, urine, and hair samples used for determining total mercury contents with mass-spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma (sampling, samples storage, preparations to analysis, instrumental settings of a device, analysis conditions).

We quantitatively determined mercury in blood, urine, and hair samples with Agilent 7500cx mass spectrometer with octopole reaction/collision cell (Agilent Technologies, USA). To prepare for whole blood samples analysis, we applied acid dilution in concentrated nitric acid with consequent centrifuging. Urine samples were directly analyzed after 1/10 (V/V) dilution with 1 % nitric acid solution. The suggested conditions of conventional biological media analysis applied in total mercury determining with mass spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma allow to determine the element in blood within 0.5–100 µg/l with measurement error being equal to 29.4 %; in urine, within 0.4–100 µg/l with measurement error being equal to 24.2 %; in hair, within 0.001–100 µg/l with measurement error being equal to 22.4 %. When validating the procedure, we found the following limits of detection (LOD): 0.0015 µg/l for blood; 0.012 µg/l, for urine; and 0.003 µg/l, for hair.

Correctness of the results was confirmed by examination of standards blood samples SERONORM (Sero AS, Norway) blood L1 (LOT 1103128), L2 (LOT 1103129), L3 (LOT 1112691), urine samples SeronormTM (Sero AS, Norway) urine (LOT 0511545), and hair samples Reference Material in Human Hair (IAEA-086, Vienna, Austria).

Total mercury contents in children's blood was determine within 0.02–1.2 µg/l; within 0.45–0.8 µg/l in urine. Contents in urine taken from exposed adults amounted to 0.65–8.2 µg/l, and to 0.29–0.49 µg/l in hair.

: mercury, quantitative determination, mass spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma, whole blood, urine, hair, acid dilution
Ulanova T.S., Stenno E.V., Veikhman G.A., Nedoshitova A.V. Methodical and practical aspects related to total mercury determination in whole blood, urine and hair with mass-spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma. Health Risk Analysis, 2018, no. 2, pp. 119–128. DOI: 10.21668/health.risk/2018.2.14.eng
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