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Total Mercury Analysis/Mercury Selenium Analysis

Mercury is tested by NSIL, providing data to federal and state authorities for enforcement and research purposes. NSIL has two Milestone DMA-80 total Mercury analyzers. The analyzers measure mercury with no sample preparation. The mercury species is reduced to elemental mercury and carried along a gold amalgamator where it is selectively trapped and recorded by the detector. A protocol is in the developmental stages for the detection of selenium on another instrument platform using hydride-generated atomic fluorescence spectroscopy. 

Selenium has an antagonist effect on mercury in seafood tissue as it competes with mercury for binding sites. The antagonistic effect is beneficial for individuals who consume large quantities of long-lived species know to bioaccumulate mercury, such as Marlin, Tuna and Swordfish. As a NSIL research and development project, Selenium measurements, along with mercury measurements in the same species of fish will be analyzed to determine the effect of Selenium concentrations on mercury concentrations.