Mercury contamination of heavy metal collection containers

Paul M. Wax, Andrea Goldfarb, Elsa Cernichiari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We investigated discordant urinary mercury testing results from 2 patients with potential mercury exposures. Two patients had mercury levels of 634 and >1,000 μg/L respectively. Although repeat 24 h urine mercury levels were elevated, spot urines were negative. Investigation revealed that technical HCl with high mercury content had been added to the 24 h urine collection containers. Subsequently, 20 hospitals were contacted to determine their heavy metals testing procedure and to analyze the acid used for mercury. Most hospitals contacted used acid in the preparation of their urine heavy metal collection containers. Of 13 HCl samples tested, 5 had low levels of mercury and I had heavy mercury content. Acid added to heavy metal collection containers should be of high purity grade to avoid mercury contamination of samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-25
Number of pages4
JournalVeterinary and Human Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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