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Abstract Title: Determination of Mercury and other Trace Elements in Hair and its Application in Human Biomonitoring Studies
Presenter Name: Agneta Annika Runkel
Company/Institution: Jožef Stefan Institute
Session: Human Exposure and Risk Assessment of Hg
Co-Authors: Agneta Annika Runkel,Darja Mazej,Janja Snoj Tratnik,Marta Jagodic Hudobivnik,Milena Horvat

Abstract Information :

Mercury (Hg) is an environmental pollutant that occurs naturally in the environment or may enter it through anthropogenic processes. Even though the degree of toxicity varies depending on the form of occurrence, elemental, inorganic, and organic Hg compounds can all cause adverse health effects in humans, especially during critical developmental stages. Exposure to organic Hg in domestic non-occupationally exposed settings mainly occurs via diet, whereas elemental Hg -present in e.g. thermometers- poses a risk to human health when inhaled. Exposure to inorganic Hg is mainly occupational. Hg exposure is being globally monitored in human biomonitoring (HBM) studies and human hair is a suitable matrix that reflects long-term Hg exposure. This study aimed at the development of an analytical method of total Hg in human hair for the implementation in HBM studies. The first 3cm of hair were washed with acetone and left to dry. Approximately, 20mg of hair were transferred into a quartz vessel, digested with concentrated suprapure HNO3 in a Milestone UltraWave single reaction chamber microwave digestion system, and diluted to 10mL with Milli-Q water. The samples were analyzed with Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). The use of an ICP-MS instrumentation for Hg detection allows the simultaneous determination of multiple elements and thus yields more exposure data. Thus, Hg was determined by a multi-elemental method including Al, V, Mn, Fe, Co, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd, Sb, Hg, and Pb. The quality of the method was controlled and continuously monitored by a 6-point calibration curve, the addition of two certified reference materials (CRM) (NIES No. 13, IAEA-086), and the inclusion of two blanks per sample batch. The method was successfully applied to 178 mother-child pairs within the Cross-Mediterranean Environment and Health Network (CROME - Life), and 1100 children (Second National HBM Study) from Slovenia.

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