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The analytical quality control and assessment project AQUACON of the European Commission established a subproject Mercury in Seafood and organised the first detailed collaborative study aiming at the assessment of uncertainty components associated with the major different steps involved in the determination of mercury in seafood. Grouping the different uncertainties we may consider the: inherent inhomogeneity of any solid material made up of more than one solid phase; losses and contamination which may occur during the dissolution of the samples, which includes the transformation of organic mercury species into organic mercury forms; presence of interfering substances in the sample digest, residual dissolved organic matter for example, which may cause incomplete reduction to metallic mercury.

The methodological approach to obtain estimates for the individual uncertainty components consists in the analysis of a solid materials requesting the destruction of the organic matrix prior to measurement, the analysis of a digested sample of the same material thus eliminating all influences from sample mineralization, and a solution containing only mercury in the ionic form and without any interfering substances present. The degree of dispersion of data, the clean mercury included, is at present such as not to allows definitive conclusions. Relative standard deviations are for all samples at high levels between 29 and 47%, having already removed some grossly deviating values. The probability of the presence of large technical errors is certainly too high as to allow further reasonable statistical work on the data sets. .

Additional information

Authors: BORTOLI A, ULSS 12, Presidio Multizonale di Prevenzione, Venezia (IT): JRC Ispra (IT);GEROTTO M, ULSS 12, Presidio Multizonale di Prevenzione, Venezia (IT): JRC Ispra (IT);BIANCHI M, ;MUNTAU H,
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 17672 IT (1997) 26pp., free of charge
Availability: Available from the Public Relations and Publications Unit, JRC Ispra, I-21020 Ispra (IT), Fax: +39-332-785818
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