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Metals / Inorganics

We offer a wide range of biological monitoring for metals and other inorganic compounds.  Further details can be found in the price list. Some of these can be ordered online including:

Occupational exposures to Metals

Urine samples can used to determine exposures to a wide range of elements in workplaces. Some metals like cadmium and lead require a blood sample (find out why here) but the majority of exposures can be determined in a urine sample. The most common elements measured at the HSE Science and Research Centre include chromium and nickel, cobalt and mercury.

It is possible to analyse a range of metals in one urine sample for workplace exposures; for example

We can also analyse metals in samples such as wipes and filters to assess surface contamination or airborne exposures; e.g. platinum in wipe/filter samples to assess exposure to platinum-containing cytotoxic drugs (we can also measure platinum levels in urine to monitor an individual's exposure) and beryllium in urine and wipe/filter samples to assess exposure to beryllium containing ore, metal and alloys in a wide range of workplaces.

A number of GB guidance values are available.  In addition, HSE recommends urine sampling for some other metals - see details on right.  HSE has reissued EH60 on nickel, reporting that with good control exposures can be reduced to a level of 24 µmol/mol creatinine.  This was based on research in the electroplating industry.

New technologies

New technologies using some less common elements such as hafnium, indium and yttrium are increasing.  The health hazards of these elements are often not well characterised, making exposure assessment important in precautionary exposure control. HSL has conducted research into the UK general population levels of these elements and is therefore able to provide some interpretation of results, despite currently very few guidance values being available.

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