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Food Addit Contam. 1990 Mar-Apr;7(2):265-73.

Determination of cadmium and lead in foods by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry with Zeeman background correction: test with certified reference materials.

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National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


Two methods for the determination of cadmium and lead based on graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS) with Zeeman background correction are described. The main difference between the methods is the method of sample destruction, bomb digestion versus dry ashing. The precision and accuracy of the methods has been tested by analysing 16 different reference materials, with cadmium concentrations varying from 2.9 micrograms/kg to 2.7 mg/kg and lead concentrations from 44 micrograms/kg to 13.5 mg/kg. The methods produced results which differ, with a few exceptions, less than 10% from the certified contents, with relative standard deviations of around 5%. The methods are not difficult to carry out, are not very laborious and without modifications are applicable to a large variety of products. The sample solutions obtained can also be used for the determination of other elements, e.g. Al, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni and Zn. The detection limits, for test portions of 1 and 5 g (wet products) are 0.5-1 microgram/kg for cadmium and 5-20 micrograms/kg for lead.

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