, Volume 379, Issue 3, pp 512-518
Date: 20 Apr 2004

Rapid multi-element analysis of groundwater by high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

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A rapid and sensitive method was developed to determine, with a single dilution, the concentration of 33 major and trace elements (Na, Mg, Si, K, Ca, Li, Al, P, S, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Sr, Mo, Cd, In, Sn, Sb, Cs, Ba, Re, Hg, Pb, Bi, U) in groundwater. The method relies on high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HR ICP-MS) and works across nine orders of magnitude of concentrations. For most elements, detection limits for this method are considerably lower than methods based on quadrupole ICP-MS. Precision was within or close to ±3% (1σ) for all elements analyzed, with the exception of Se (±10%) and Al (±6%). The usefulness of the method is demonstrated with a set of 629 groundwater samples collected from tube wells in Bangladesh (Northeast Araiharzar). The results show that a majority of tube well samples in this area exceed the WHO guideline for As of 10 μg L−1, and that those As-safe wells frequently do not meet the guideline for Mn of 500 µg L−1 and U of 2 µg L−1.