Water Sanitation Health

Antimony in drinking-water

Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality

Analytical methods

Antimony can be determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS), with a detection limit of 0.8 µg/litre (EPA Method 204.2). More sensitive determination is possible using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, with detection limits of 0.1 µg/litre in the presence of three other metals (ICI-Technology, 1996) and 0.02 µg/litre (EPA Method 6020). Antimony(V) can be differentiated from antimony(III) using N-(p-methoxyphenyl)-2-furylacrylohydroxamic acid and can be determined separately by electrothermal AAS at concentrations down to 0.01 µg of antimony per litre (Abbassi, 1989).