An electrochemical sensing system that significantly improves the ability to rapidly and accurately detect heavy metals in biological and environmental samples was developed. Using a simple blood sample from a finger prick, the system identifies and eliminates exposure to toxic metals such as lead. These dangerous elements continue to pose a significant health concern, especially to children.

The compact biomonitoring device allows for rapid, accurate results equivalent to state-of-the-art mass spectrometry systems from small fluid samples.

The portable analyzer system has been optimized to reliably detect lead and other toxic metals in urine, blood, and saliva as accurately as current state-of-the-art plasma mass spectrometry systems. The device can use either a flow injection system with a mercury-film electrode or a mercury-free system involving the use of functionalized nano-materials to provide detection sensitivity at a parts-per-billion level.

The system delivers reliable measurements within a rapid two- to five-minute analysis period and provides a quick method of monitoring toxic metal exposures in high-risk populations such as industrial workers, children, and people living in polluted areas. The device is housed in a system the size of a small suitcase for field work.

For more information, contact Peter Christensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 509-371-6159.


Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2019 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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