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TestAmerica Extends Mercury Testing Services to Include Methyl Mercury


TestAmerica’s laboratory in North Canton, Ohio has implemented Method 1630 for methyl mercury. The performance-based, improvement of Method 1630 was originally developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Cooperative efforts between FDEP and TestAmerica led to the addition of n-propyl mercury as a surrogate compound used to improve the quality assurance rigors applied in the test procedure. This new test application allows the lab to comfortably reach a detection level of 0.05 ng/L in an aqueous matrix. Applications for the evaluation of methyl mercury in sediment and tissue matrices are in development and will be commercially available in the second quarter of 2009.

Methyl mercury is produced by bacteria in mercury contaminated aquatic ecosystems and bio-accumulates in the food chain. Mercury concentrations in top predators can be orders of magnitude higher than the concentrations found in their host waters. A large percentage of the bio-accumulated mercury is in the methylated form and is the primary driver behind fish consumption advisories.

TestAmerica was the first national network of environmental testing laboratories to introduce low-level mercury testing in 2001. Technical Director Dr. Mark Bruce worked with the EPA Office of Water to develop guidance for the use of automated systems under Method 1631. Dr. Bruce commented, “TestAmerica’s clients have had a long standing interest in the identification of mercury in the environment at lower and lower levels. Those interests have grown to include a desire to understand how different forms of mercury impact the ecosystems where they are found. Adding methyl mercury to our range of testing capabilities was a natural extension of our services focused on the speciation of metallic elements for the purpose of supporting the risk assessment activities of our clients.”

About TestAmerica

TestAmerica is the leading environmental testing firm in the United States, including 39 laboratories and 27 service centers. TestAmerica provides innovative technical expertise and comprehensive analytical testing services. Specialty analyses include source and ambient air, aquatic toxicity, explosives, specialty organics, dioxins, drinking water, sediments and tissues, emerging contaminants, radiochemistry and mixed waste testing.

TestAmerica affiliate companies include EMLab P&K, the leader in analytical microscopy and indoor air quality; QED Environmental Systems, Inc., the leading supplier of groundwater sampling equipment and remediation pumping systems; TestAmerica Drilling Corp., provider of innovative environmental and geotechnical drilling, and TestAmerica Air Emissions Corp. (METCO Environmental), specializing in air emissions testing. TestAmerica currently employs over 3,200 professionals dedicated to exceptional service and solutions for our clients’ environmental testing needs.


 methyl mercury
 environmental testing
 method 1630
 method 1631
 sediment testing

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