Nickel quantification in serum by a validated sector-field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry method: assessment of tentative reference values for an Italian population



The daily exposure to Ni from food, industrial processes, jewellery and coins makes the determination of Ni in human serum an important way to monitor the health status in non-occupationally exposed subjects. To this end, a method based on sector-field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was developed and validated. The limits of detection (LoD) and quantification (LoQ), sensitivity, linearity range, trueness, repeatability, within-laboratory reproducibility and robustness were the considered issues of the validation process. The uncertainty associated with the measurements was also calculated, according to the Eurachem/Citac Guide. The method LoD and LoQ were 0.03 and 0.09 ng mL−1, linearity was over two order of magnitude, trueness was −3.57%, and the repeatability and reproducibility showed relative standard deviations equal to 4.56% and 6.52%, respectively. The relative expanded uncertainty was 21.8% at the Ni levels found in the general population. The tentative reference value for serum Ni was 0.466 ± 0.160 ng mL−1 with a related interval between 0.226 and 1.026 ng mL−1. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.