Evaluating 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.