Metals / Inorganics
We offer a wide range of biological monitoring for metals and
other inorganic compounds. Further details can be found in
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 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
- Welding - chromium,
nickel, manganese, tungsten, vanadium. See HSE's
- Recycling - aluminium, mercury, chromium, antimony,
copper, cadmium, lead and arsenic
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 recently
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 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
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