Optimization of procedures for mercury-203 instrumental neutron activation analysis in human urine

A. J. Blotcky, J. P. Claassen, Y. K. Fung, A. G. Meade, E. P. Rack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Mercury, a known neurotoxin, has been implicated in the etiology and pathogenesis of such disease states as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. There is concern that the exposure to mercury vapor released from dental amalgam restorations is a potential health hazard. Measurement of mercury concentrations in blood or urine may be useful in diagnosis of mercury poisoning and in assessing the extent of exposure. This study describes the optimization of pre-neutron activation analysis procedures such as sampling, selection of irradiation and counting vials and acid digestion in order to minimize mercury loss via volatilization and/or permeation through containers. Therefore, the determination of mercury can be complicated by these potential losses. In the optimized procedure 20 mL of urine was spiked with three different concentrations of mercury, digested with concentrated nitric acid, and placed in polypropylene vials for irradiation and counting. Analysis was performed by subtracting the Se-75 photopeak contribution to the 279 keV Hg-203 photopeak and applying the method of standard additions. Urinary mercury concentrations in normal human subjects were determined to be of the order of 10 ng/mL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry Articles
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pollution
  • Spectroscopy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimization of procedures for mercury-203 instrumental neutron activation analysis in human urine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this