This test method2 covers the determination of total
mercury in water in the range from 0.5 to 10.0 μg Hg/L
(1).3 The test method is applicable to
fresh waters, saline waters, and some industrial and sewage
effluents. It is the user's responsibility to ensure the validity
of this test method for waters of untested matrices.
The analyst should recognize that the precision and bias of this
standard may be affected by the other constituents in all waters,
as tap, industrial, river, and wastewaters. The cold vapor atomic
absorption measurement portion of this method is applicable to the
analysis of materials other than water (sediments, biological
materials, tissues, etc.) if, and only if, an initial procedure for
digesting and oxidizing the sample is carried out, ensuring that
the mercury in the sample is converted to the mercuric ion, and is
dissolved in aqueous media
Both organic and inorganic mercury compounds may be analyzed by
this procedure if they are first converted to mercuric ions. Using
potassium persulfate and potassium permanganate as oxidants, and a
digestion temperature of 95°C, approximately 100 % recovery of
organomercury compounds can be obtained
The range of the test method may be changed by instrument or
recorder expansion or both, and by using a larger volume of
The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No
other units of measurement are included in this standard.
A method for the disposal of mercury-containing wastes is also
presented (Appendix X1) (5).
This standard does not purport to address all of the safety
concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility
of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and
health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory
limitations prior to use. For specific hazard statements.
2 Adapted from research investigations by the U. S.
Environmental Protection Agency's Analytical Quality Control
Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH, and Region IV Surveillance and Analysis
Division, Chemical Services Branch, Athens, GA.
3 The boldface numbers in parentheses refer to the
references at the end of this test method.
*A Summary of Changes section appears at the end of this
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