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Open-File Report 2008–1334

Simultaneous Speciation of Arsenic, Selenium, and Chromium by HPLC-ICP-MS

By Ruth E. Wolf, Suzette A. Morman, Jean M. Morrison, and Paul J. Lamothe


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An adaptation of an analytical method developed for chromium speciation has been utilized for the simultaneous determination of As(III), As(V), Se(IV), Se(VI), Cr(III), and Cr(VI) species using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separation with ICP-MS detection. Reduction of interferences for the determination of As, Se, and Cr by ICP-MS is a major consideration for this method. Toward this end, a Dynamic Reaction Cell (DRC) ICP-MS system was used to detect the species eluted from the chromatographic column. A variety of reaction cell gases and conditions may be utilized, and the advantages and limitations of the gases tested to date will be presented and discussed. The separation and detection of the As, Se, and Cr species of interest can be achieved using the same chromatographic conditions in less than 2 minutes by complexing the Cr(III) with EDTA prior to injection on the HPLC column. Practical aspects of simultaneous speciation analysis will be presented and discussed, including issues with HPLC sample vial contamination, standard and sample contamination, species stability, and considerations regarding sample collection and preservation methods. The results of testing to determine the method's robustness to common concomitant element and anion effects will also be discussed. Finally, results will be presented using the method for the analysis of a variety of environmental and geological samples including waters, soil leachates and simulated bio-fluid leachates.

Version 1.0

Posted December 2008

For additional information contact:

Director, Minerals Resources Program
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, MS 964D
Denver Federal Center
Denver CO 80225

World Wide Web:

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Suggested citation:

Wolf, Ruth E., Morman, Suzette A., Morrison, Jean M., and Lamothe, Paul J., 2008, Simultaneous speciation of arsenic, selenium, and chromium by HPLC-ICP-MS: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1334, 27 p.

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