• New Application Guidance on Mercury Monitoring

Chromatography

New Application Guidance on Mercury Monitoring

Nov 28 2006

Quantitech Ltd, a supplier of analytical instrumentation, has announced the publication of a new application note on the Determination of Mercury in Water by Cold Vapour Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy.

Mercury is a toxic element found throughout the environment. It is highly mobile and is able to diffuse through air, soil and water. Fish have the ability to bio-accumulate mercury (in its methylated form) to 100,000 times the concentration of the water they inhabit and as result mercury levels in the environment are of great concern.

On 18 July 2006, a Directive setting quality standards for pollutants in surface waters was proposed by the European Commission. The Water Framework Directive requires that all EU waters should achieve good status by 2015 and establishes a new regime for the prevention and control of chemical pollution of water.
These new proposals set �environmental quality standards�, by reference to maximum concentrations and annual average values and will help achieve the chemical aspects of the Water Framework Directive's goal of �good� ecological status as they focus on 41 chemical substances that pose a particular risk to the aquatic environment and human health. The Commission has proposed additional concentration limits in aquatic organisms for bioaccumulative substances such as methyl-mercury. If the proposals become law, Member States will have to meet the new limits by 2015.

The list of priority hazardous substances includes mercury and cadmium compounds, chlorinated paraffins, hexachlorobenzene, tributyl tin and penta-BDE. The proposals will require Member States to prepare maps of �transitional areas of exceedance� where concentrations of the pollutants are currently higher than the standards. Areas of exceedance will be required to be kept under review and progressively brought into line.

Many laboratories are charged with the important task of monitoring mercury in effluent, waste, surface and groundwater and the new application note provides detailed information on how this analysis can be performed under the US EPA methodology 7470 and 245.1and EN-1483 or EN-13806 with Cold Vapour Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy using the Teledyne Leeman Labs �Hydra AA�.

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