Question: How to test water for heavy metals today?

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Devon7 asked on March 26, 2018 17:51
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Affordable commercial labs?

Professionals with NIST certified lab equipment who'd calibrate amateur gear?

Various flavors of chromatography & spectrography?

Neutron activation analysis of solid residue?

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2 Comments

Kshatrya 13 days ago

If you are looking for specific metals, there should be some reagent that will precipitate or indicate that metal. But if you're looking for all the dissolved metals, you'll probably need a spectroscopic type test.

Kshatrya 13 days ago

If you are looking for specific metals, there should be some reagent that will precipitate or indicate that metal. But if you're looking for all the dissolved metals, you'll probably need a spectroscopic type test.

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2 Answers

I like energy dispersive X-Ray florescence (EDXRF). It's non-distructive, low power, and relatively cheap. On the down side, it's hard to calibrate.


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The older usp method was based on hydrogen sulfide. This was later changed to a thioacetamide based test. This is better, but still not good. These are general tests for heavy metals and relatively inexpensive. You can get much more expensive tests based on chromatography, atomic absorption, ICP, and a slew of other methods. But you will pay for it either in time or in instrument cost. These are the trade offs you have to make.


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