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Anal Chim Acta. 2007 Sep 26;600(1-2):221-5. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

Flow injection determination of lead and cadmium in hair samples from workers exposed to welding fumes.

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Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Bromatology, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15782-Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


A flow injection procedure involving continuous acid leaching for lead and cadmium determination in hair samples of persons in permanent contact with a polluted workplace environment by flame atomic absorption spectrometry is proposed. Variables such as sonication time, nature and concentration of the acid solution used as leaching solution, leaching temperature, flow-rate of the continuous manifold, leaching solution volume and hair particle size were simultaneously studied by applying a Plackett-Burman design approach. Results showed that nitric acid concentration (leaching solution), leaching temperature and sonication time were statistically significant variables (confidence interval of 95%). These last two variables were finally optimised by using a central composite design. The proposed procedure allowed the determination of cadmium and lead with limits of detection 0.1 and 1.0 microgg(-1), respectively. The accuracy of the developed procedure was evaluated by the analysis of a certified reference material (CRM 397, human hair, from the BCR). The proposed method was applied with satisfactory results to the determination of Cd and Pb in human hair samples of workers exposed to welding fumes.

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