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ASTM Selected Technical Papers
Quality Assurance for Environmental Measurements
By
JK Taylor
JK Taylor
1
National Bureau of Standards
,
Washington, DC
;
conference chairman and editor
Search for other works by this author on:
TW Stanley
TW Stanley
2
Environmental Protection Agency
,
Washington, DC
;
conference chairman and editor
Search for other works by this author on:
ISBN-10:
0-8031-0224-0
ISBN:
978-0-8031-0224-8
No. of Pages:
452
Publisher:
ASTM International
Publication date:
1985

Chemical analysts need biological reference materials that contain higher levels of toxic elements than are usually present in natural-source materials [e.g., orchard leaves, tomato leaves, or pine needles, available from the National Bureau of Standards (NBS)]. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that high-quality reference materials, containing high levels of multiple toxic elements, can be produced with in vivo incorporation procedures. The approach taken was to produce water hyacinth tissue materials—leaves and stems containing high levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury—as follows: (1) apply a hydroponic feeding procedure for the in vivo incorporation of toxic elements into water hyacinths; (2) dry, blend, and homogenize the plant materials and determine the levels of the incorporated elements and the homogeneity of the generated plant material; (3) demonstrate that low-level control materials can be successfully blended with high-level materials to yield a homogeneous material with intermediate toxicant levels; (4) evaluate the precision of the analytical methods used to determine toxic element levels in the materials; and (5) evaluate the stability of the resulting materials. Sufficient quantities of the parent materials were produced so that characterized reference materials can now be made available on request. Successful application of the in vivo incorporation procedure was demonstrated; therefore additional amounts of such materials could be produced, if needed. Levels of the toxic elements incorporated in water hyacinth leaves were 100, 300, 60, and 27 times the levels present in the control leaves for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, respectively. Overall precision of sampling, subsampling, and digestion, and chemical analysis of the treated materials, ranged from 3 to 10% relative standard deviation and was generally comparable to that of three NBS biological reference materials tested. Blends of control and high-level materials were found to be homogeneous, and the overall analytical precision was comparable to that achieved for the control or treated materials alone. No significant changes were noted in control and treated materials in long-term (six months or more) stability studies.

1.
Beckert
,
W. F.
, “
Mercury, Lead, Arsenic and Cadmium in Biological Tissue: The Need for Adequate Standard Reference Materials
,” EPA Report 600/478-051,
Environmental Protection Agency
, Washington, DC,
1978
.
2.
Chigbo
,
F. E.
,
Clark
,
M.
,
Thompson
,
L.
, and
Shore
,
F.
,
Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences
, Vol.
24
,
1979
, pp. 13-31.
3.
Williams
,
L. R.
,
Beckert
,
W. F.
,
Austin
,
J. R.
, and
Simon
,
S. J.
, “
Characterization of Biological Reference Materials: In Vivo Incorporated Toxic Metals in Water Hyacinth Tissues
,” EPA Report 600/X-83-024,
Environmental Protection Agency
, Washington, DC,
1983
.
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