Overcoming the Challenges of Trace Elemental Analysis in Environmental Samples Using ICP-MS

Spotlight on Method 6020 Instrumentation - ICP/MS Metals Analysis
Oral Presentation

Presented by F. Keenan
Prepared by D. Kutscher, S. McSheehy Ducos
Thermo Fisher Scientific, Hanna-Kunath-Straße 11, Bremen, Bremen, 28199, Germany

Contact Information: [email protected]; +49 421 54930


The analysis of trace elements, especially toxic ones, such as As, Cd, Hg or Pb is of utmost importance to environmental analysis, including analysis of drinking water, wastewater, soil, and solid waste. Generally, ICP-MS is one of the most powerful detectors that is used for elemental analysis using EPA Methods 200.8 and 6020. It provides the advantage of easy quantification of trace elements, high sample throughput and the possibility of speciation analysis when coupled with other analytical tools. However, the analysis of environmental samples is not without challenges.
Matrix and spectral interferences are common problems that must be addressed for accurate and precise results. This presentation highlights the available tools to tackle these interference challenges for ICP-MS-based analysis. Whereas appropriate solutions for the sample introduction system lead to a dramatically reduced number of re-runs, triple quadrupole (TQ) ICP-MS is eliminating all interferences even in most difficult environmental samples. Consequently, lowest detection limits can be achieved even in presence of strong interferences. Dedicated solutions in both hardware and software will allow all staff levels to fully leverage the potential of intelligent sample handling and triple quadrupole ICP-MS for advanced interference removal.