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Abstract

In recent years the increasing use of platinum (Pt) both in medical and in industrial applications has caused its growing anthropogenic emission and spread in the environment. Pt is released into the atmosphere by exhaust catalytic converters, and Pt compounds are often used in antitumour therapies. As a consequence, significant amounts of Pt can be detected in hospital wastewaters. This can lead to an increase in the exposure levels to Pt, especially in urban areas. It is therefore necessary to determine Pt reference values in the general population, by using suitable procedures able to achieve adequate analytical performances. Several measurements of Pt in biological fluids have been reported, but the analytical methods used for the determination of Pt often lack information about the uncertainty of the results, especially for low concentrations of urinary Pt in non-occupationally exposed subjects. The present paper considers the measurement of urinary Pt levels in a general population group from central Italy, by both quadrupole (Q) and sector field (SF) inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The two procedures were validated and their expanded uncertainties were evaluated. The limits of detection (LODs), calculated taking into account dilution factors, were 0.18 and 0.05 ng L−1 of Pt for the Q and SF procedures, respectively. The median value observed was 4.13 ng L−1 of Pt in urine, while the relative combined uncertainty at 5 ng L−1 was below 20% with both ICP-MS techniques. These data are in good agreement with those reported in the literature for similar studies. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.