206-632-6206 info@brooksapplied.com

Rare Earth Elements: Not as Rare as You Thought

Rare EarthWhat are rare earth elements (REE), you might ask? According to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), REEs include the lanthanide series elements plus two bonus elements (yttrium and scandium). Although they are considered rare, REEs exist “hidden” in water and solid materials all around us. Brooks Applied Labs (BAL) has developed analytical methods to support not just trace, but ultra-trace quantitation of REEs using column chelation paired with inductively coupled plasma triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (CC-ICP-QQQ-MS). Partnering with BAL to take advantage of our advanced analytical techniques allows our clients to confidently capture data in parts-per-quadrillion units of pg/L (that’s right, picograms!).

Analytical data for REEs at these low levels supports studies related to environmental forensics, phytotoxicity, change control for chemically defined media, and hydrological movement of contaminants and tracers.

We may not see REEs around us, but they are present in lasers, magnets, capacitors, superconductors, and much more! Although industrial applications for the use of REEs have expanded in the past half a century, regulations have not kept up.  Few, if any, regulations exist associated with REEs. Many studies focused on the uptake and effects of REEs in agricultural crops and other plants have been performed (e.g., Carpenter et. al. 2015 and Allison et. al. 2015), and these studies have concluded that REEs can have a negative impact on the viability of crops and health of the vegetative ecosystem around us.

Being experts in mass spectrometry provides BAL scientists the tools to develop novel and, most importantly, applicable analytical technologies to support both industrial applications as well as protecting our environment for future generations. Please contact us if you’d like to receive more information regarding the articles referenced above or to discuss how analysis of low-level REEs can support your upcoming projects.

Chromium-Cr

Chromium Cr
Chromium (Cr) is a polyvalent element and can exist in several distinct oxidation states, but only trivalent chromium [Cr(III)] and hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] occur with any frequency in the natural environment. The mobility, bioavailability, and toxicity of chromium largely depend on which of these two chemical species is prevalent. The speciation of chromium is determined by the processes that control reduction/oxidation reactions in the environment. As can be seen by the adjacent simplified Pourbaix diagram of chromium species in water, species conversion can occur with only fairly minor changes in pH and Eh.

Chromium is a naturally occurring metal found in small quantities associated with other metals, particularly iron. It is commonly used for making steel and other alloys, bricks in furnaces, dyes and pigments, chrome plating, leather tanning, and wood preserving. Due to its extensive use in industrial processes, large quantities of chromium compounds are discharged into the environment.

Please contact us to find out more about testing for chromium.

Learn more

Chromium Related News

A Better Way to Measure Cr(VI)

While the standard technique for detecting hexavalent chromium, or Cr(VI), has improved over the years with the addition of ion chromatography (IC) coupled to UV/visible spectrophotometry, the EPA published methods still rely upon reaction-based chemistry which are...

ASTM Symposium – Beyond the Implant

Many of our clients have no idea that BAL supports human diagnostic testing, specifically research related to patients that have undergone arthroplasty surgery (such as hip replacement). On May 9-10, one of our scientists, Russell Gerads, presented two invited...

In Case You Missed It: BAL Presentations February – April

If you follow our newsletters, you probably have noticed that BAL staff have had a busy winter and spring attending and presenting at many conferences around the country and even overseas. In case you missed any of the announcements or would like a copy of the...

Selenium

Selenium Se
Although selenium is a component of many minerals, it is only the seventieth most abundant element in the earth’s crust and occurs mostly in small crystals and in small quantities. It typically only occurs at elevated concentrations in the environment as a byproduct of anthropological activity. An essential micro-nutrient, selenium becomes toxic to most eukaryotic organisms at relatively low concentrations.

Selenium testing for total recoverable concentrations by conventional ICP-MS techniques is extremely prone to mass spectral interferences. The plasma gas (argon) and constituents of the sample matrix (calcium, carbon, chloride, sulfur, etc.) can easily combine to form polyatomic ions with the same mass-to-charge ratios as the various isotopes of selenium, resulting in false-positives and elevated detection limits.

The table below lists the different isotopes of selenium and the common interferences that can affect measurements at those isotopes.

Learn more

Selenium Related News

Se and Hg in Fish Collected Near Power Plants

Brooks Applied Labs’ data was featured prominently in a recent Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal article titled, “Selenium and Mercury in Freshwater Fish Muscle Tissues and Otoliths: A Comparative Analysis”.

Welcome to the Selenium Centre of Excellence

The Selenium Centre of Excellence (SCE) is a non-profit organization seeking to advance innovative scientific solutions to address the growing global concern of selenium for the betterment of its inhabitants, ecosystems, industry, and regulatory bodies.

The Importance of Selenium Speciation

The topic of selenium has garnered attention in various industries for decades now, but the challenge associated with removing selenium from wastewaters has not diminished. In order to understand the most effective form of treatment for this unusual element that is...

BAL is On the Road Again…

The SETAC North America 39th Annual Meeting will be held in Sacramento November 4-8 this year. Come learn more about the unexpected ways alligators can potentially cause you harm you when Elizabeth Madonick, BAL Technical Services Specialist, presents a poster on the...

Quantifying Trace Selenium in Seawater

Brooks Applied Labs (BAL) is now offering the most innovative method commercially available for the quantitation of selenium in saline waters at concentrations as low as 5 ng/L (parts-per-trillion). BAL’s novel method utilizes in-line matrix component separation and...

BAL Continues to Expand Selenium Speciation Capabilities

Efficient selenium treatment and understanding ecological risks associated with the contaminant requires detailed molecular information to make educated decisions. As with any element, the molecular form of selenium, or chemical species, dictates how the element will...

In Case You Missed It: BAL Presentations February – April

If you follow our newsletters, you probably have noticed that BAL staff have had a busy winter and spring attending and presenting at many conferences around the country and even overseas. In case you missed any of the announcements or would like a copy of the...

Lead

Lead Pb
Lead – Update with Lead info.

Learn more

Lead Related News

Filtered Beer & Wine can have Higher Arsenic and Lead Levels

There have been many research publications in recent years detailing the heavy metal levels in alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine, but few of these investigate how the processing of these beverages may influence the levels of toxic metals. The results of a new...

Arsenic and Lead in Fruit Juice

Everyone knows that too much of a good thing can be bad. But what happens when even a little of a good thing can be harmful?  Consumer reports tested different fruit juices for cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic. The results were startling.  Click here for...

Arsenic and Lead Bioaccessibility in Soils

Contamination from trace metals, such as arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) in soils, can lead to potential health risks from inhalation and ingestion of the soil or vegetables grown in the soil. While it is well known that different molecular forms of As and Pb have...

Arsenic

Arsenic As
Arsenic is naturally-occurring throughout the environment and also widely used as a preservative for treated wood and as a pesticide in fields where we grow our food. Because of its chemical nature, it is frequently bioavailable and easily absorbed. Accurate and precise measurements of this classified human carcinogen are critical for managing our environment and protecting human health and safety. At Brooks Applied Labs, we have both the innovation and the expertise to provide you with ultra-low arsenic and arsenic speciation for virtually any matrix type. Please contact us to find out which arsenic test is the appropriate method choice for your samples.

Learn more

Arsenic Related News

Filtered Beer & Wine can have Higher Arsenic and Lead Levels

There have been many research publications in recent years detailing the heavy metal levels in alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine, but few of these investigate how the processing of these beverages may influence the levels of toxic metals. The results of a new...

In the News (Again) – Arsenic in Baby Food

Brooks Applied Labs was recently mentioned in a Canadian Broadcasting Company news segment on their investigation into arsenic concentration of baby foods sold in Canada. BAL performed the testing which showed some baby foods contained inorganic arsenic above the US...

Arsenic and Lead in Fruit Juice

Everyone knows that too much of a good thing can be bad. But what happens when even a little of a good thing can be harmful?  Consumer reports tested different fruit juices for cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic. The results were startling.  Click here for...

Choosing the Appropriate Method for Arsenic Speciation

When routine analytical testing indicates that a sample contains elevated levels of arsenic, more detailed characterization is often warranted. Performing arsenic speciation analysis – where specific molecular forms of arsenic are individually quantified – is often...

Did You See the Recent News About Heavy Metals in Baby Food?

Consumer Reports recently published a study that evaluated the levels of certain heavy metals in 50 different baby food products. As you may recall this is a topic in which BAL has previously been involved by working with Healthy Babies Bright Futures and it continues...

Join Us at the NEMC Metals Session

At this year's National Environmental Monitoring Conference, BAL's Vice President, Annie Carter will be chairing two sessions on "Metals and Metals Speciation Analysis in Environmental Samples." The conference will take place August 6th - 10th in New Orleans, LA, and...

How BAL Uses Speciation to Complement Total Elemental Analyses

Most regulations – whether for the environmental, pharmaceutical, or consumer product sectors – are based on the total concentration of an element present in a given sample.  Many regulatory bodies and standards organizations have promulgated methods to support...

Mercury

Mercury Hg
Mercury is not very abundant in the planet’s crust; however, even modest increases in the quantity of mercury being introduced into the global environment is a matter of considerable and growing concern. Mercury contamination can threaten the health of humans and wildlife, from industrial sites to the most remote wilderness areas. Mercury is considered a global pollutant since it can affect the environment in areas far removed from the point of its original release.

Since 1982, Brooks Applied Labs has devoted significant resources to the research and development of the analytical methods and instrumentation necessary to quantify mercury and methylmercury concentrations at ultra-low levels in even the most complex matrices. Our early research contributed substantially to the development and validation of EPA Method 1631 and EPA Method 1630 for the determination of mercury and methylmercury in waters at sub-parts-per-trillion levels.

Over the decades we have developed and perfected our analytical methods to determine mercury and methylmercury concentrations in even the most complex matrices.

We routinely analyze the following for mercury and methylmercury with some of the lowest detection limits available to our clients:

Learn More

Mecury Related News

Se and Hg in Fish Collected Near Power Plants

Brooks Applied Labs’ data was featured prominently in a recent Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal article titled, “Selenium and Mercury in Freshwater Fish Muscle Tissues and Otoliths: A Comparative Analysis”.

In Case You Missed It

Team Brooks Applied Labs has been incredibly busy the past several weeks, with conference presentations locally, nationally, and internationally! Dr. Nausheen Sadiq presented on the analysis of iodine isotopes in kelp samples on February 13th at the European Winter...

Arsenic and Lead in Fruit Juice

Everyone knows that too much of a good thing can be bad. But what happens when even a little of a good thing can be harmful?  Consumer reports tested different fruit juices for cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic. The results were startling.  Click here for...

BAL is On the Road Again…

BAL’s methods are predominantly based on ICP-MS technology so it should surprise no one that the Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry is one of the highlights of our year. This year’s conference takes place February 3-8 in Pau, France, and Dr. Nausheen Sadiq...

Bioavailability of Mercury in Power Plant Wastewater

Standard regulatory practices limit the total concentration of toxic metals, such as mercury, when discharged from industrial sources, ignoring the importance of speciation and bioavailability. This can result in dischargers spending more on wastewater treatment than...

Join Us at the NEMC Metals Session

At this year's National Environmental Monitoring Conference, BAL's Vice President, Annie Carter will be chairing two sessions on "Metals and Metals Speciation Analysis in Environmental Samples." The conference will take place August 6th - 10th in New Orleans, LA, and...

It’s Gator Season!

Many discussion and research endeavors have focused on subsistence fishermen and their families, but limited resources have been directed at other ways of "living off-of the land". Few know that there are a considerable number of people that live in the southern...