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I work in a public health laboratory in a small mining town and we have the chance to buy equipment to test for lead and cadmium in wastewater, and mercury in not just wastewater, but also in blood, hair and urine.

It is known that the only method to determine mercury in atomic absorption spectroscopy is the cold vapor method, and that there are specific instruments like this one, that can analyze mercury in all those types of samples (biological or water).

Is there any spectrometer that can be used to measure all three of these metals or do we need to buy one for mercury and another for the other metals?

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    $\begingroup$ AAS can measure all three elements, and so the answer is yes. I suggest also the following article that can be of help: doi.org/10.1016/j.sab.2006.09.001. It's from 2006, but it seems a good start for your subject. $\endgroup$
    – Jojostack
    Jul 5, 2023 at 5:59
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    $\begingroup$ I think its paywalled there's the references: Christopher D. Palmer, Miles E. Lewis, Ciaran M. Geraghty, Fernando Barbosa, Patrick J. Parsons, Determination of lead, cadmium and mercury in blood for assessment of environmental exposure: A comparison between inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry and atomic absorption spectrometry,Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy,Volume 61, Issue 8,2006,Pages 980-990,ISSN 0584-8547,doi.org/10.1016/j.sab.2006.09.001. (sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0584854706002527) $\endgroup$
    – Jojostack
    Jul 21, 2023 at 7:24

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This is a tall order. Your first step should be to list present and future samples, analytes with expected amounts and necessary detection limits. There are many possible methods and it might not be possible to get a one instrument. Some considerations: Mercury dedicated cold vapor; Solid samples: Energy dispersive Xray [EDAX]; Metals:atomic absorption, AA, inductively coupled plasma emission [ICP], in solution ion chromatography, finally wet chemistry: Hach Company has developed wet chemistry methods for almost everything in water. Versatility is important; who knows what you might find when you look hard. Compile the list and call the various companies to see who can do it. Be sure to have actual samples run with results that exceed expectations.

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