Standard Article

Metals in Blood and Urine: Biological Monitoring for Worker Exposure

Industrial Hygiene

  1. Paul A. Ullucci

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a1310

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Ullucci, P. A. 2006. Metals in Blood and Urine: Biological Monitoring for Worker Exposure. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. ESA Laboratories, Inc., Chelmsford, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Biological monitoring uses sophisticated analytical techniques for the accurate and precise determination of metals in blood and urine. This provides occupational health professionals with the means to monitor worker exposure to toxic metals. For metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, good correlations have been found between the level of the metal in blood and/or urine and health impairment.

Analytical techniques such as graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (GFAAS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP/MS) have been widely used to determine metals in biological samples. Since metals may exist in different forms in blood and urine, chromatographic separation combined with spectroscopic detection has been used to determine metal species. Biological monitoring is an example of how modern analytical chemistry has provided the tools needed to protect the health of workers.