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NIEHS/EPA Metals - Analytical Methods
Sponsored by: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences & U.S. EPA, Office of Emergency and Remedial Response
Original Time/Date of Presentation:

June 11, 2003, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM, EDT (18:00-20:00 GMT)

Presentation Overview:

This is the third in a series of three seminars on Metals sponsored by the NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program and the EPA Technology Innovation Office. This event will highlight recent advances in analytical methods for detection of metals in environmental media. Dr. Paul Bishop, of the University of Cincinnati, will discuss metals analysis at Superfund sites. This kind of analysis can be done off-site, on-site, ex-situ or in-situ. The technique selected will depend on cost factors, data reliability needed, the elements to be analyzed and available technologies. Dr. Bishop’s talk will focus on on-site analysis procedures, including the use of specialty microelectrodes, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and electrochemical techniques such as ultramicroelectrode arrays and voltammetry. The presentation will conclude with the description of a new MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) lab-on-a-chip device being developed for rapid, highly sensitive on-site analysis of metals in groundwater. Tammy Jones-Lepp, of EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory in Las Vegas, NV, will discuss the state-of-the-science methods applied to real-world analytical chemistry problems of the Regions, the States, and Tribal Authorities. For example, high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) and a uniquely developed in-house software package for HRMS (ion composition elucidation - ICE) have been used to determine the compositions of unknown and potentially toxic pollutants that otherwise were undiscovered via conventional methodology. Their environmental chemistry expertise in volatile organics--using newly patented instrumentation (vacuum distillation), developed in-house--was applied to solving the migration of vinyl chloride (a known human carcinogen) into milk. One scientist is working closely with Tribal authorities and the State of Alaska to follow the transport and fate of mercury into indigenous food sources. The scientists have also used state-of-the-art technologies (electrospray-ion trap mass spectrometry), to determine the source and fate of an industrial spill of organotins for the state of South Carolina. Other scientists are working diligently to develop extremely low-level (sub-part-per-trillion) pesticide methodology (extraction and detection) to help solve the mystery of the disappearance of the yellow-legged frog from the alpine lakes of the Sierra Nevada. The staff’s expertise in mass spectrometry, analytical methods development, clean-up methodology, inorganics, organometallics, volatile organics, non-volatile organics, semi-volatile organics, separation technologies, has provided technical research support for many projects initiated by States, Regions, and Program Offices.

Presenters: Instructors: Moderators:
  • Larry Whitson, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (
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