Lumex Instruments Group

Life Among The Heavy Metals


Courtesy of Lumex Instruments Group

Authors in scientific and applied works interpret the meaning of the concept 'heavy metals' in different ways. Today, they include more than 40 chemical elements with an atomic mass of more than 50 atomic units. An important role in the determination of heavy metals is played by the following conditions: their high toxicity in relatively low concentrations, and the ability to bioaccumulation. Specialists on environmental protection among the heavy metals have identified a priority group. It includes cadmium, copper, arsenic, nickel, mercury, lead, zinc and chromium as the most dangerous to humans and animals health. Of these, mercury, lead and cadmium are the most toxic.

Modern industry today uses toxic metals during production and in final products. Consumers are constantly exposed to in their body low doses of lead, cadmium and mercury. With age, this effect is more significant and harmful to humans.

Small amount lead is emitted into the atmosphere and the ground from the exhaust gas of cars. Cadmium, copper, lead, zinc - as a result of abrasion of tires. Zinc and copper, together with atmospheric precipitation, that is, from industrial and transport emissions. 
Vegetables, fruits, meat, fish usually contain 10-20 µg of cadmium per kilogram of body weight. Elevated concentrations of cadmium may be contained in the liver (10-100 µg/kg) and especially in the kidneys (100-1000 µg/kg) animals, as well as in a variety of shellfish, e.g. oysters (200-1000 µg/kg).

Obviously, analytical control of heavy metals is necessary for almost all branches of human activity: in agriculture, medicine, heavy and mining industry, perfumery and cosmetic, tobacco, food and waste processing.
In some regions, this control is successfully carried out as a result of financial investments and interest in the problem of the population and the state, while in others, for various reasons, the implementation of this control is irregular or does not happen at all.

In conditions when a large part of the population lives below the poverty line, is hungry or constantly undernourished, reckless consumption of natural resources is a natural form of survival, which causes permanent damage to the environment. A powerful source of environmental pollution is industrial production, based mainly on backward technologies. In particular, the rapid development of the fuel and energy complex has a technogenic impact on the environment and human health. The coal mining industry damages the hydro and lithosphere in its areas of operation, and the work of power plants is also accompanied by a some negative environmental consequences.

In such difficult conditions of living, it is especially important to have a tool with which you can carry out analytical control. To do this, you need appropriate equipment and relevant methodological support. Given that for toxic effect is enough of a very small amount of toxicant, it is necessary to provide the analytical instrument with a high sensitivity and at the same time the ability to work in an in-line mode.

The GFAAS method with Zeeman background correction seems to be the most optimal solution for the analytical control of heavy metals.

The company «Lumex Instruments» has been producing atomic absorption spectrometers of the MGA series for almost twenty years: MGA-915MD and MGA-1000
A distinctive feature of these devices is the:

  • Unique sensitivity of the GFAAS;
  • A unique background correction system for analyzing objects with pronounced non-selective absorption;
  • The possibility of simultaneous installation of high-frequency lamps and hollow cathode lamps;
  • Determination of Se and As without using a mercury-hydride attachment.

Our company offers an analytical complex for controlling the mass concentration of heavy metals in various types of solid, liquid and biological samples, consisting of an MGA spectrometer and a list of standards for it.

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