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Brooks Applied Labs currently offers lead (Pb) stable isotope ratio testing for environmental forensic studies. Lead has a unique isotopic pattern and small differences in the ratios of these isotopes can help in identification of the source, transport, and biogeochemical fate of lead in atmospheric bulk deposition, soils, freshwater, and seawater matrices.

Typically, accurate stable metal isotope measurement is achieved by thermal ionization mass spectrometry which can only be found in academic research environments. Brooks Applied Labs utilizes an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer equipped with a Dynamic Reaction Cell (DRC) to achieve similar results with appropriate QA/QC. This specific instrument not only removes interferences for low level lead analysis in various matrices, but also allows extremely accurate and precise determination of isotopic ratios limited with counting statistics (< 0.1% most ratios). The DRC technology facilitates collisional damping of the ion beam fluctuations, which greatly reduces the internal variability and increases precision. The confidence in isotopic ratio testing is also typically limited by sample concentration and matrix interferences. By identifying these interferences and implementation of preconcentration techniques and appropriate sample preparation methods, the applicability of lead isotopic ratio testing for most matrices is now a reality. In addition, institution of proper sampling plans is a necessity to ensure all localized variables are identified to account for as many variables as possible.

Use of lead stable isotope ratio testing can often decrease the scope of work for investigative projects, ultimately reducing the cost of the investigation and increasing the confidence in results due to the absolute nature of the testing procedure. This is especially important when dealing with tort and environmental forensic litigation cases.

For project inquiries, applicability of methodologies, and pricing information feel free to contact us.

Actual QC Data for NIST 981

204Pb/206Pb

207Pb/206Pb

208Pb/206Pb

Certified Ratios

0.059042

0.91464

2.1681

Measured Ratios

0.059404

0.91543

2.1668

Average internal precision (% RSD)

0.189

0.075

0.075

External precision (% RSD)

0.048

0.036

0.045