Determination of total arsenic concentrations in nails by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

Biological Trace Element Research
K L ChenD C Christiani


The analysis of trace elements in biological samples will extend our understanding of the impact that environmental exposure to these elements has on human health. Measuring arsenic content in nails has proven useful in studies evaluating the chronic body burden of arsenic. In this study, we developed methodology with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for the determination of total arsenic in nails. We assessed the utility of the washing procedures for removing surface contamination. Four types of preanalysis treatments (water bath, sonication, water bath plus sonication, and control) after sample decomposition by nitric acid were compared to evaluate the digestion efficiencies. In addition, we studied the stability of the solution over 1 wk and the effect of acidity on the arsenic signal. Arsenic content in the digested solution was analyzed by using Ar-N2 plasma with Te as the internal standard. The results suggest that washing once with 1% Triton X-100 for 20 min for cleaning nail samples prior to ICP-MS analysis is satisfactory. Repeated measurement analysis of variance revealed that there was no significant difference among the various sample preparation techniques. Moreover, the measurements were repro...Continue Reading


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