Analytical considerations in the clinical laboratory assessment of metals

The presence of metals in the environment is ubiquitous and humans are constantly being exposed to them. As such, a general concern exists about potential health consequences that result from the exposure to metals. The continued efforts of environmental scientists to measure metals in clinical specimens are important for defining the extent of human exposure to these chemicals. Laboratory methods to measure the concentration of metals in human blood or urine are available, and they can be used to assess the extent of human exposure to these chemicals. However, several considerations should be reviewed when requesting a laboratory measurement of metals because some factors can affect the test result or its interpretation. These considerations are discussed in this article and include pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical factors. Clinicians with this knowledge will be able to request these laboratory tests for their patients with enhanced confidence.

Authors: Wang RY, Caldwell KL, Jones RL. ;Full Source: Journal of Medical Toxicology. 2014 Jun;10(2):232-9. doi: 10.1007/s13181-014-0381-8. ;