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J Environ Monit. 2004 Apr;6(4):344-50. Epub 2004 Feb 20.

Energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence systems as analytical tool for assessment of contaminated soils.

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Flemish Institute for Technological Research (Vito), Environmental Measurements, Boeretang 200, B-2400 Mol, Belgium.


To determine the heavy metal content in soil samples at contaminated locations, a static and time consuming procedure is used in most cases. Soil samples are collected and analyzed in the laboratory at high quality and high analytical costs. The demand by government and consultants for a more dynamic approach and by customers requiring performances in which analyses are performed in the field with immediate feedback of the analytical results, is growing. Especially during the follow-up of remediation projects or during the determination of the sampling strategy, field analyses are advisable. For this purpose four types of ED-XRF systems, ranging from portable up to high performance laboratory systems, have been evaluated. The evaluation criteria are based on the performance characteristics for all the ED-XRF systems such as limit of detection, accuracy and the measurement uncertainty on one hand, and also the influence of the sample pretreatment on the obtained results on the other hand. The study proved that the field portable system and the bench top system, placed in a mobile van, can be applied as field techniques, resulting in semi-quantitative analytical results. A limited homogenization of the analyzed sample significantly increases the representativeness of the soil sample. The ED-XRF systems can be differentiated by their limits of detection which are a factor of 10 to 20 higher for the portable system. The accuracy of the results and the measurement uncertainty also improved using the bench top system. Therefore, the selection criteria for applicability of both field systems are based on the required detection level and also the required accuracy of the results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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