Tracking down toxins: mercury and methylmercury analysis

Mercury is a pretty serious environmental toxin, and Johane Joncas of Lakehead University’s Environmental Laboratory (LUEL) works closely with environmental professionals to provide accurate testing for mercury concentrations in number of different samples. Mercury, in most of its forms, it is a neurotoxin. The organic form of mercury (known as methylmercury) can bioaccumulate in living tissues and cause negative affects.
Johane has been a technician with LUEL for over 15 years. She holds a bachelors degree majoring in biology and chemistry and is currently the Laboratory’s Manager. It was Johane’s hard work and attention to detail that help LUEL obtain accreditation by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation Inc. (CALA) to ISO 17025. With ISO 17025 accreditation clients can be assured of accurate results.
One of Johane’s many areas of expertise is in mercury detection. Her lab is outfitted with a Brooks Rand mercury (Hg) and methylmercury (MeHg) system which allows detection of total mercury and methylmercury measured in nanograms per litre. The analysis of methylmercury in water is done following EPA method 1630 using Distillation, Aqueous Ethylation, Purge and Trap, and Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry (CVAFS). In addition to water samples, other sample types (such as plant, animal, invertebrates, hair, soil and sediment) can be analysed as well. The analysis of total mercury in these non-water samples is performed using the EPA method 1631 which involves oxidation, purge and Trap, and CVAFS. 
If you would like to see a listing of other services the Environmental Laboratory provides CLICK HERE.
Also feel free to contact Johane if have any questions by email at, or by phone at 807-343-8368. She is more than willing to help you, in English or in French.

LUCAS Lakehead University