Biomonitoring method for the analysis of chromium and cobalt in human whole blood using inductively coupled plasma - kinetic energy discrimination - mass spectrometry (ICP-KED-MS)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a biomonitoring method to rapidly and accurately quantify chromium and cobalt in human whole blood by ICP-MS. Many metal-on-metal hip implants which contain significant amounts of chromium and cobalt are susceptible to metal degradation. This method is used to gather population data about chromium and cobalt exposure of the U.S. population that does not include people that have metal-on-metal hip implants so that reference value can be established for a baseline level in blood. We evaluated parameters such as; helium gas flow rate, choice and composition of the diluent solution for sample preparation, and sample rinse time to determine the optimal conditions for analysis. The limits of detection for chromium and cobalt in blood were determined to be 0.41 and 0.06 µg/L, respectively. Method precision, accuracy, and recovery for this method were determined using quality control material created in-house and historical proficiency testing samples. We conducted experiments to determine if quantitative changes in the method parameters affect the results obtained by changing four parameters while analyzing human whole blood spiked with National Institute of Standard and Technology traceable materials: the dilution factor used during sample preparation, sample rinse time, diluent composition, and kinetic energy discrimination gas flow rate. The results at the increased and decreased levels for each parameter were statistically compared to the results obtained at the optimized parameters. We assessed the degree of reproducibility obtained under a variety of conditions and evaluated the method’s robustness by analyzing the same set of proficiency testing samples by different analysts, on different instruments, with different reagents, and on different days. The short-term stability of chromium and cobalt in human blood samples stored at room temperature was monitored over a time period of 64 hours by diluting and analyzing samples at different time intervals. The stability of chromium and cobalt post-dilution was also evaluated over a period of 48 hours and at two storage temperatures (room temperature and refrigerated at 4°C). The results obtained during the stability studies showed that chromium and cobalt are stable in human blood for a period of 64 hours.