Water Sanitation Health

Arsenic in drinking-water

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


Analytical methods

A silver diethyldithiocarbamate spectrophotometric method is available for the determination of arsenic; the detection limit is about 1 µg/litre (ISO, 1982). Graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy, hydride generation atomic absorption spectrophotometry and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) are more sensitive. High-pressure liquid chromatography in combination with ICP-MS can also be used to determine various arsenic species (Irgolic, 1982).

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