Analysis of Whole Blood for Trace Lead (Pb) by Graphite Furnace AAS
Toxic effects from heavy metals (Pb, As, Se, Cd, Bi, Sn, Tl, and Hg) have been characterized in medical literature for decades. Originally, complex extractions were performed to isolate the poisonous components from the complex biological matrices: blood, serum, urine and tissues. Recently, optical emission and atomic absorption spectroscopy techniques were developed to determine these toxic elements. As analytical instrumentation performance improved, real limits of detection were also improved. The advent of Inductively-Coupled Plasma (ICP) and Graphite Furnace AAS (GFAAS) brought the limits of analysis into the parts-per-billion (PPB) range for many matrices. This capability has been invaluable in screening blood and urine samples from pediatric and chronically ill patients to track the exposure and elimination of lead.