Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
VIEIRA, José L. F. and PASSARELLI, Miriam M.. Determination of total mercury in water, sediments and solids in suspension in aquatic systems by cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry . Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1996, vol.30, n.3, pp. 256-260. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101996000300008.
The use of metallic mercury in the extraction and concentration of gold causes the discarding of tons of this metal in the environment, leading to a considerable increase in the natural levels of the same and the contamination of the surrounding areas. Thus it is extremely important to monitor the presence of this metal in various sectors of the environment with a view aiming to previnting human exposure to excessive concentrations which can result in serious episodes of mercury poisoning. It is also important to estimate the possibility of river sediments becoming potential sources of contamination of human beings. The determination of total mercury was undertaken by using cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry. River waters, as well as sediments and suspended solids were used as samples for the standardization of the analytical procedure. Later on, this method was tested on samples originating in gold mining areas for the purpose of assessing its validity.
Keywords : Mercury [analysis]; Water pollutants [chemical, analysis]; Spectrophotometry [atomic absorption, utilization].