Learning is like mercury, one of the most powerful and excellent things in the world in skillful hands; in unskillful, the most mischievous.
– Alexander Pope
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 (view our MDL & MRL Table) available to our clients:
|- surface water||- coal|
|- ground water||- fish tissue|
|- wastewater||- macroinvertebrates|
|- seawater||- plankton|
|- soil||- food|
|- sediments||- human blood|
Mercury Speciation Services Available:
Research suggests that as inorganic mercury settles into the sediments of aquatic systems, prevailing anaerobic microorganisms are largely responsible for this methylation process. Particularly common locations for the methylation of mercury are wetlands, low-alkalinity lakes, organic-acid rich systems, recently flooded areas, and streams where severe fluctuations occur.
Responsible for more than three-quarters of all fish consumption advisories in the United States, methylmercury is a pollutant of the highest concern and it is likely that it will become a requirement that it be widely monitored. Brooks Applied Labs has methods for methylmercury detection from numerous matrices including all water types, soils and sediments, tissue samples, and human biomonitoring samples (blood, urine, hair, etc.)
Types of Mercury Testing We Do:
There is growing interest in the regulatory community concerning bioavailability and Brooks Applied Labs remains one of the foremost experts in providing commercially practical solutions to determine the concentrations of various mercury compounds or fractions. Through advanced separation techniques, we are able to quantify mercury concentrations in sediments according to specific compound or fraction of interest.
One of the methods used at Brooks Applied Labs to assess the concentrations of mercury compounds in soils that belong to these specific classes is a selective sequential extraction (SSE) procedure. These selective sequential extractions represent the mobility of specific classes of mercury compounds and can be classified as fractions that are water soluble, weak acid soluble, organo-complexed, strongly complexed, or mineral bound. The first three of these fractions have been shown to be significantly more mobile, bioavailable, and susceptible to methylation.
Data regarding of the concentrations and ratios of these mercury compounds in contaminated soils can be critical to successful site remediation and containment of potentially hazardous materials.