​Heavy Metals Analysis

Heavy metals are chemical elements that exist naturally in our environment. Of the 23 identified heavy metals, many are toxic, depending on concentration and some are toxic when marginally above background concentration levels. Mercury (Hg), arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) are examples of highly toxic heavy metals, while zinc and manganese in small quantities are essential to human health and are added to health supplements. 

When it comes to elemental analysis, Teledyne Leeman Labs specializes in instruments that determine heavy metal concentration. Our product lines include Mercury Analyzers, Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) systems and DC Arc instruments.  ​

  • The mercury analysis systems we offer are based on the proven techniques of Cold Vapor Atomic Spectroscopy (CVAS) and include Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption (CVAA), Cold Vapor Atomic Florescence (CVAF) and Combustion Atomic Absorption (CAA). We then couple these techniques with established processes for sample preparation, sample introduction, gold enrichment (gold trap amalgamation) and data collection to create exceptional instruments for mercury determination.
  • The Prodigy7 and Prodigy Plus ICP-OES instruments combine the latest in solid-state detector technology with our advanced high-dispersion Echelle spectrometer. This creates an instrument that provides superb resolution, stability and detection limits for reliable results, even in difficult sample matrices.
  • The Prodigy DC Arc is an instrument for the direct (solid) elemental analysis of a wide range of materials. The Prodigy DC Arc offers fast analysis times for samples that are hard to digest and can handle the most challenging sample matrices.

Teledyne Leeman Labs Heavy Metal Analysis Applications

Mercury Determination in Groundwater, ERM®-CA615, EPA Method 245.7 using the CETAC QuickTrace™ M-7600 CVAAS

Groundwater analysis is a crucial part of environmental monitoring that safeguards the ecosystem, and ensures sources of essential drinking water. However, groundwater analysis can present many obstacles for the environmental analyst. Contamination, interferences and sample preparation are a few of the significant obstacles when monitoring mercury at low levels. Mercury is prevalent through point-source contamination that often comes from industry and bioaccumulation.

Water Analysis Following US EPA Method 200.7 Using the Teledyne Leeman Lab’s Prodigy7 ICP-OES

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA), the US EPA is deemed responsible for establishing analytical procedures used for compliance monitoring of both drinking and wastewaters. In the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA outlines National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR), which specify the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for drinking water contaminants known for causing adverse health effects in humans.

Mercury Determination in Water, SRM 1641c, EPA Method 245.7, using the CETAC QuickTrace™ M-8000 CVAFS

Total mercury determination in water allows quantitation for many different applications. The goal of this specific application is to validate the QuickTrace® M-8000 Cold Vapor Atomic Florescence (CVAF) mercury analyzer by analyzing Standard Reference Material® (SRM) 1641c, Mercury in Water. The SRM was digested according to EPA Method 245.7, Mercury in Water by Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry, Rev. 2.0. Mercury contamination is prevalent as different species throughout various water sources. Measuring the amount of mercury contamination in these sources is important for preservation and overall health of the environment. Detection is dependent on instrument stability and sensitivity. 

Analysis of Crude Oil by ASTM Procedures D5708 and D1548 Using the Teledyne Leeman Labs’ Prodigy Plus ICP-OES

This application note will demonstrate the ability of the Teledyne Leeman Labs’ Prodigy Plus ICP-OES to meet the criteria of ASTM procedures D1548 -Test Method for Vanadium in Heavy Fuel Oils and D5708 - Determination of Nickel, Vanadium and Iron in Crude Oils. These elements are of interest to the refining industry as V can form corrosive compounds during combustion and both Fe and Ni at trace levels can deactivate catalysts used in the process. 

Analysis of Oil Additives in Petroleum Samples Using the Teledyne Leeman Labs’ Prodigy Plus ICP-OES

Nearly all commercially available motor oils contain additives to modify properties and improve performance. These additives can typically make up 1-25% of the total liquid volume. A majority of motor oils contain “anti-oxidant” additives, which help prevent the oil from burning at high temperatures. These additives contain
detergents and dispersants to suspend and neutralize impurities in the oil and prevent them from coagulating in the engine. 

Residual Fuel Oil (NIST SRM 1619b)

This technical note describes the analysis of Residual Fuel Oil (NIST Standard Reference Material® 1619b), using the Teledyne Leeman Labs' Hydra IIC mercury analyzer. This method utilized a moisture control system described in Teledyne Leeman Labs' Application Note – AN1701 to enhance the performance of the Hydra IIC in standard, direct combustion mode for total mercury determination in this sample matrix.

Mercury (Hg) in Spinach Leaves (NIST 1570)

This technical note describes the analysis of trace elements in Spinach Leaves (NIST CRM 1570) using the
Teledyne Leeman Labs' Hydra IIC mercury analyzer. This method utilized a moisture control system described in AN1701 to enhance the performance of the Hydra IIC in standard, direct combustion mode for total mercury determination in this matrix.

Mercury in Beverages Using Green Chemistry, Microwave Extraction Sample Preparation and Detection by the QuickTrace® M-7600 CVAA Mercury Analyzer

Mercury (Hg) is a naturally occurring element, known to cause a wide variety of human health problems depending on dose, duration and route of exposure. Ongoing exposure can lead to neurological symptoms such as tremors, muscle weakness, motor and speech impairment and a decline of cognitive abilities. The most common means by which people in the United States are exposed to mercury is by ingesting contaminated food and water.

Analysis of Trace Elements in Copper Oxide Using the Prodigy DC Arc Spectrometer

Copper(II) oxide, also known as cupric oxide, has a wide range of industrial uses. It is used as a pigment in ceramics to produce blue, red and green (and sometimes gray, pink or black) glazes. It can be used to create other copper salts and is used to produce cuprammonium hydroxide solutions which are used in the production of rayon. It is also occasionally used as a dietary supplement to treat copper deficiency in animals.

Analysis of Trace Elements in High-Purity Silver using the Prodigy DC Arc Spectrometer

Silver is a white, relatively soft metal that has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals in the periodic table. Its electrical and thermal conductivity properties, along with its monetary value and lustrous appearance, make silver suitable for use in many applications, both in its pure metallic form and as a compound in alloyed metals. As a pure metal, silver is used to produce currency, jewelry, sterling silver
flatware, electrical contacts and industrial catalysts. Layers of silver can be sputtered onto glass surfaces to produce optics that allow varying amounts of light penetration.


Do apples and other fruits contain Arsenic?
Certain fruits are known to bioaccumulate arsenic that is derived from the soil (naturally occurring) and from early forms of pesticides. Apples, pears and grapes absorb arsenic, but typically it is only in low concentrations.​