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Schweizer, Ann-Kathrin; Kabesch, Michael; Quartucci, Caroline ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9880-8072; Böse-O'Reilly, Stephan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0204-3103 and Rakete, Stefan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4851-513X (2021): Implementation of mercury biomonitoring in German adults using dried blood spot sampling in combination with direct mercury analysis. In: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Vol. 193, No. 8, 488

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Venous blood is a preferred matrix for the determination of total mercury (Hg) in human biomonitoring but has some drawbacks such as the requirement for an uninterrupted cold chain for transport and storage and the need of medical personnel for sample collection. Therefore, we tested and implemented a simpler and less expensive method for measuring Hg in human blood using dried blood spots (DBS). For method development, we investigated the influence of different storage conditions (temperature, storage vessel, time) on DBS samples. For method validation, we compared DBS and venous blood and investigated whether DBS sampling is suitable for measuring Hg in the general population in countries with low Hg exposure such as Germany. Based on our results, we found that pre-cleaned glass tubes were most suitable for storage of DBS samples, as this allowed the samples to remain stable for at least 4 weeks even at high temperatures (40 degrees C). When comparing venous blood and DBS, a very good correlation (r = 0.95, p < 0.01, Spearman-Rho) and high precision of DBS (mean relative standard deviation 8.2% vs. 7.2% in venous blood samples) were observed. Comparing the recoveries of both matrices in different concentration ranges, the variation of the recoveries decreases with increasing Hg concentration. The mean recoveries also decreased with increasing Hg concentration. Overall, we found comparable results for DBS and venous blood using direct Hg analysis. Furthermore, we demonstrated that DBS are suitable for Hg biomonitoring in the general population in Germany and improved the storage conditions for the DBS.

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