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Going Deeper – Methylmercury Preparation Techniques for Hair

methylmercury in hairEvaluating hair samples for methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations can be particularly useful when performing human health studies, especially when trying to determine sources and timing of mercury exposure. Typical digestion procedures for MeHg determination in biological samples have been found to be inadequate for the preparation of hair. However, Brooks Rand Labs (BRL) performed a side-by-side comparison of sample preparation procedures, and the conclusions of this study confirmed that the nitric acid preparation method for MeHg analysis used by BRL worked well for human hair, as well as similar matrices such as fur and feathers.  BRL used matrix spikes, certified reference materials, human hair, mammal fur, and bird feathers in the method validation.

A recent publication compared several extraction methods for MeHg in human hair. It evaluated MeHg demethylation and inorganic Hg methylation artifact formation using species-specific isotope dilution and gas chromatography-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (GC-ICP-MS). It confirmed that a nitric acid preparation, similar to that used by BRL, was an appropriate method to use for hair and similar matrices. Contact us today to discuss how you can get the most accurate methylmercury data possible for your project.

On the Road Again – SETAC 2014

SETAC LogoMore than 2300 scientists, assessors, regulators, and managers will gather to share and discuss emerging research, regulatory developments, and the latest methodologies in environmental toxicology and chemistry at the SETAC North America 35th Annual Meeting. Tiffany Stilwater (BRL Client Services Manager), Elizabeth Madonick (BRL Technical Sales Specialist), and Ian Joslin (BRL Metals Chemist), will be heading up to Vancouver, BC, to attend this busy and exciting meeting being held November 9-13, 2014.

We don’t let our Metals Chemists out much, so come by introduce yourself to Ian on Tuesday morning (November 11th) as he presents his poster on “Potential Bias in Arsenic Speciation Results for Tissues Prepared by EPA Method 1632”. You can also come by the booth of our sister company, Brooks Rand Instruments (booth #218) to say hello, or contact us before the event to set up a meeting.

BRL Staff Giving Back: The Service Board


We are lucky to have great staff that volunteer for some amazing organizations! Our Trace Metals Group Leader, Christabel Escarez has been volunteering as a youth mentor for the Service Board for the past two years. The Service Board mentors teens to conquer personal and cultural challenges through public service and outdoor adventure, including community service, social justice education, and snowboarding! The Service Board recently organized a trail-building trip that was funded by a mini-grant from the Washington Trails Association (WTA) Outdoor Leadership Training (OLT) program. The OLT provides outdoor experiences for youth who often have few opportunities to get outdoors, inspiring the next generation of hikers and conservationists.

Christabel was recently quoted in the WTA’s magazine July-August 2014 issue as saying, “Building trails is a unique experience that introduces teens to interurban trails and suburban green spaces, as well as their part in creating and maintaining these natural areas.”