I am given this question:

A study showed that over 2000 children in China have been poisoned by lead. Blood samples have been taken and show that there is 10 times as much as the acceptable amount of lead in their blood. How can you analys the lead in their blood?

How do I determine which of the following analytical methods is most suitable: ICP, FAAS, GFAAS and ICP-MS.

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  • $\begingroup$ Presumably your [$H^+$] really a difference in concentration (also probably multiplied by some negative power of 10) with respect to some initial condition as a negative concentration does not make sense? $\endgroup$
    – porphyrin
    Apr 14, 2018 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ If you have considerably less than 30 ng/ml of Al in your sample, you won't find it with flame atomic absorption spectroscopy. Is that what you want to know? Otherwise please elaborate on your actual problem. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    May 20, 2018 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ I will edit my question and elaborate on an actual problem where the table has to be used :) @Karl $\endgroup$
    – J.Se
    May 20, 2018 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


[...] am I looking for high numbers or low numbers? What do the numbers indicate?

Unless I misunderstood your question, the answer is in the legend on the left side below the periodic table.

The numbers for each element describe the detection limits for particular experimental setups.

You can only use the instruments that you own (or have access to). The periodic table will tell you whether your own machines will reach the intended sensitivity. If not, you might need to send your samples to somebody with a different, more sensitive setup or you have to give up your overly ambitious plans alltogether.

  • $\begingroup$ I have edited my question, perhaps it clearer what I am asking about. What does it mean that my machine "will reach the intended sensitivity"? Do I want the sensitivity to be as high as possible or low? Because sometimes our professor chooses a technique with highest sensitivity and sometimes she chooses something in the middle. $\endgroup$
    – J.Se
    May 20, 2018 at 12:50

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