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Grant Program: A Green Fieldable Analyzer for Arsenic (NSF 2007 Standard Grant)
Grant Agency: NSF
Grant Project Number: 0709994
Period of Performance: 12/01/2006 through 01/31/2009
Grant Amount: $272,223
Contact Information: Purnendu Dasgupta (PI) Dasgupta@uta.edu University of Texas at Arlington 817/272-2105

Most fieldable arsenic detectors involve the use of the toxic chemicals lead and mercury. Further, most test kits are not suitable for analyzing arsenic below 10 microgram/L (the current acceptable level set by WHO), and the method developed in this work will improve this sensitivity. The instrument is based on sequential injection (for speciation), zone fluidics (for hydride generation), and gas phase chemiluminescence (for detection). The integrated arsenic analyzer includes concentration and separation of arsenic species with ion exchange cartridges, electrooxidation of As(III) to As(V), electroreduction of As(V) to arsine with an electrolytic arsine generator, membrane-based electrodialytic salt splitter, and enhanced ozone generation by electrical discharge and oxygen feed. It only requires the use of NaCl and electricity to enable analysis of arsenic at the sub-microgram/L levels. With a preliminary setup, the PI achieved detection limits of around 0.1 ppb using only a 2 mL sample. By adjusting acidity, he can distinguish between arsenic(III) and arsenic(V), and he can detect organic arsenic species. The method being developed here would be applicable to field work, even in rural areas of India and Bangladesh devastated by arsenic poisoning.