food testingAt Brooks Applied Labs, we specialize exclusively in testing for heavy metals at ultra-low-levels for:

  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Dietary Supplements

Our laboratories, instruments, methods, and staff are all strictly committed to providing the most precise and accurate data for heavy metals available.

Services We Offer:


California Proposition 65 Analysis
Since 1986, when Californians approved an initiative to address growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals known as California (CA) Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, the list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm has grown to more than 800 unique substances.

CA Prop. 65 requires businesses (i.e., manufacturers, distributors, retailers) to notify consumers through proper labeling if their products contain any of the listed chemicals in excess of what has been determined to a safe level of daily exposure.

Of particular concern in natural products is the presence of naturally occurring heavy metals, such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury (the Big Four), in addition to a few other elements that can be toxic at even very low levels.

Brooks Applied Labs offers businesses in the natural products industry California Prop. 65 analysis to certify that the levels of heavy metals in their products are below the limits established by CA Prop. 65 and to protect them from potentially frivolous litigation.

We even offer metals speciation analyses to distinguish between what have been deemed safer metals species and far more toxic metals species, such as tests for:

  • inorganic arsenic
  • methylmercury
  • hexavalent chromium

Contact us today to learn more about how our testing services can certify your products to be low in heavy metals and compliant with CA Prop. 65.

Inorganic Arsenic Analysis
Arsenic levels in dietary supplements, food, and beverage products have been a matter of growing concern among consumers in the United States and abroad. Of particular concern is the species of arsenic known as “inorganic arsenic,” which is classified as a known human carcinogen by the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO IARC).

Naturally occurring arsenic in the soil can be taken up by plants of all kinds and become incorporated into final products using even the most carefully cultivated ingredients. Moreover, arsenic-based wood preservatives, insecticides, and fungicides were used extensively until very recently and most fruit orchards are still heavily contaminated by past use – even if they are adhering to strict organic standards today.

Brooks Applied Labs offers specialized testing services to distinguish inorganic arsenic from other forms of arsenic in:

  • dietary supplements
  • food (such as rice and mushrooms)
  • beverage products (such as apple juice and rice-based drinks)
  • and many more specific organic and inorganic arsenic species!

Contact us today to learn more about how our testing services can certify your products to be low in inorganic arsenic.

Methylmercury Analysis
It is well known that mercury is a potent toxin that can severely impair the human nervous system, and mercury levels in dietary supplements, food, and cosmetics has long been a matter of considerable concern. Demonstrating that natural products are free of mercury is critical, but it is the specific form of mercury known as methylmercury that is of the highest concern.

When naturally occurring mercury or human-caused contamination reaches rivers, lakes, or the ocean, microorganisms convert it into methylmercury, which can bioaccumulate in the wildlife and then biomagnify up the food chain. Large fish can have methylmercury concentrations more than million times greater than the surrounding water, and when people eat those fish they are at risk of mercury poisoning.

More critically, methylmercury is especially detrimental to the neurological development of fetuses and women who are pregnant are recommended to avoid eating any fish or products that contain fish oil that may be high in methylmercury concentrations.

Brooks Applied Labs is recognized as a world leader in analyzing for methylmercury concentrations and has decades of experience providing laboratory testing services to:

  • researchers in medicine
  • toxicology
  • industry
  • environment

Method USP <2232>
The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is currently revising its standards for elemental impurities in dietary supplements, in the interest of better protecting public health. The revisions focus on two areas:

  1. Updating the methodology used to test for elemental impurities in dietary supplements to include procedures that rely on modern analytical technologies
  2. Establishing limits for acceptable levels of elemental impurities, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, in dietary supplements.

USP <2232> provides proposed limits for elemental metal contaminants in dietary supplements and dietary ingredients. Limits for individual components and permissible daily exposure (PDE) are provided for arsenic (inorganic), cadmium, lead, and mercury (methylmercury).

Tests for inorganic arsenic and methylmercury are required if the levels of total arsenic or total mercury are in excess of the proposed new acceptable PDE limits.

Brooks Applied Labs offers specialized testing services to establish that dietary supplements are compliant with these new standards for elemental impurities and metals speciation analyses when necessary. Contact us today to learn more about how our testing services can certify your products to be low in heavy metals and compliant with USP <2232>

Big Four Heavy Metals Analysis
As people become ever more demanding about the quality of the food, beverages, and dietary supplements they purchase and consume every day, the presence of heavy metals in products (even at very low levels) has become a matter of growing concern.

Many natural ingredients accumulate small amounts of heavy metals from the environment (i.e., the soil and water), but determining exactly how much of a specific metal is in a product requires extremely sensitive analytical techniques. Perhaps even more importantly, since natural levels can often be in the low parts-per-billion range, laboratories that are not experienced with the proper analytical methods can easily contaminate samples.

At Brooks Applied Labs, we specialize exclusively in testing for heavy metals at ultra-low-levels for the environmental, energy, pharmaceutical, and food industries. Our laboratories, instruments, methods, and staff are all strictly committed to providing the most precise and accurate data for heavy metals available.

Using the latest in microwave digestion and ICP-MS technologies, we provide heavy metals testing services to companies that manufacture, distribute, and retail a variety of consumer products. Our ultra- sensitive analytical method was recently accepted by the AOAC Expert Review Panel on Heavy Metals (pending several clarifications).  First Action Status will be granted once the provisos are received by AOAC.

Our Ultra-Low Detection Limits:*



Heavy MetalLimit of Quantification
Arsenic10 ppb
Cadmium10 ppb
Lead10 ppb
Mercury10 ppb

*Lower quantitation methods available for specific matrices.

Brooks Applied Labs has some of the lowest detection limits commercially available to our clients. View our MDL & MRL Table.