Heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium, are naturally present in the environment. This has, in turn, resulted in the presence of heavy metals in our food, especially seafood. As the ingestion of such heavy metals in the long term may lead to health problems.
Despite the regularity by which the major food and beverage agencies WHO, USFDA, European Commission China FDA regulate heavy metals in consumer products and feed, long-term safety remains a question of exposure levels (concentration over time). Analytical testing can be challenging since the analysis of total metals is not enough, and it may be necessary to differentiate between organic and inorganic species.
Three of the most commonly used technologies involve the use of either atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS), inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), or inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).