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Metal analysis in solids and biota

Metal analysis

Elevated levels of metals found in soil, other solid matrices and biota is a clear indication of an external contamination source. As all metals are naturally occurring, a natural background level is expected. However industrial and human activity often lead to contamination and chemical analysis finding levels of metals, and in particular heavy metals, above the natural background.

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ICP and sample preparation

While instrumentation utilized for analysis of metals is standard, ICP-OES or ICP-MS, the digestion methods differs.

Legislation will require use of specific acid or mix of acids for digestion of samples. Typically, legislation will require the use Nitric acid or a mix of Nitric and Hydrochloric acid that in a 1:3 ratio mix is referred to as aqua regia.

In addition to standard digestion methods ALS has developed several other methods to ensure specific metals are digested, for example, digestion by fusion.

Analysis provided by ALS includes

  • Local legislation packages
  • Heavy metals
  • Mercury
  • Chromium VI
  • Platinum Group Elements, PGE
  • Rare Earth Metals, REE
  • Energy metals
  • Technology Critical Element, TCE
  • Screening analyses

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Analysis of metals in soil, solid matrices and Biota

One of the most frequently found contaminations in the environment is related to petroleum products, ranging from light hydrocarbons like BTEX to heavy fuel used as bunker fuel.


Petroleum related contamination

A large part of remediations and environmental investigations performed is related to contamination by petroleum products