Laboratory analysis of heavy metals

Your needs : to ensure that your products are comply with regulations regarding heavy metals

Certain heavy metals are indispensable in industry (Lead, Chromium…)  however, others are particularly toxic (Mercury, Titanium…) and so their use is highly regulated in sectors such as the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

In light of this, industrial companies are required to inspect and analyze the heavy metal contents of their finished products and raw materials.

Our solution : to provide our analytical services and technical facilities adapted to your products in order to detect the presence of heavy metals

FILAB provides its expertise and cutting-edge analytical fleet (ICP-MS, ICP-AES, AAS, Mercury analyzer  / amalgamator ) for elemental analysis of heavy metals (Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, Cadmium, Nickle, Antimony…) and for heavy metal determination on all kinds of materials.

For over 30 years our laboratory has been providing analytical services and performing elemental analysis.

Why call on FILAB to analyze your heavy metals ?

Since October 2015 FILAB laboratory has been ISO 17025 accredited by COFRAC for the determination of metallic impurities in raw materials and in pharmaceutical products, in accordance with standards described in the European Pharmacopoeia 2.4.20 and the American Pharmacopoeia USP 233.

With three levels of services – analysis, expertise and R&D support – FILAB assists companies from all sectors and of all sizes in overcoming their industrial challenges by sharing its technical know-how and the wealth of experience of its team with its clients.

FILAB is CIR (Crédit Impôt Recherche) approved to assist you in the best possible conditions.

ome examples of services FILAB can provide :

  • Screening and determination of heavy metals using ICP-MS or ICP-AES in chemical matrices : treatment baths, materials, raw materials…

  • Quantitative analysis of heavy metals in cosmetic products using ICP-MS : lipstick, mascara, eyeliner…

  • Inorganic analysis

  • Determination of heavy metals or trace amounts of catalysts in packaging materials

  • Mercury analysis using an amalgamator

  • Determination of heavy metals according to CSAR regulations

  • ICP-MS heavy metal analysis of raw materials used in cosmetics : natural mica, sericites, metallic oxides (Titanium oxide, Zinc oxide, Iron oxides…), talc, clay…

  • Elemental impurity analysis of pharmaceutical products using ICP in accordance with USP 233 (ICH Q3D standard)

  • Determination and analysis of Chromium VI

  • Metallic impurity analysis of Medical Devices and of cosmetic products

  • Analytical development and validation using ICP-MS or ICP-AES  

The positive aspects of FILAB

  • A highly qualified team

  • Responsiveness in responding to and processing requests

  • A complete analytical park of 2100m²

  • Tailor-made support

Analysis laboratories can use a variety of techniques to measure heavy metals in a product.

The most commonly used technique is atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). This method involves vaporising the product to be analysed to create a cloud of atoms that are then excited by a light source. The heavy metals present in the cloud will absorb some of this light, enabling their concentration to be measured.

Another method often used is X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XFS). This technique uses a source of X-rays to excite the heavy metals present in the product. The metals then emit a fluorescence that can be used to measure their concentration.

There are also other methods such as ion chromatography, mass spectrometry and voltametry, which can be used depending on the type of product to be analysed and the sensitivity required for heavy metal detection.

In all cases, it is important to follow strict protocols to ensure accurate and reliable results. Analysis laboratories must comply with strict quality standards and use state-of-the-art equipment to carry out these important analysis.

There are a number of measures that companies can take to prevent heavy metal contamination in their manufacturing processes. Here are a few examples:


Identify potential sources of contamination: Companies should carry out a thorough assessment of their manufacturing processes to identify potential sources of heavy metal contamination. This may include the use of raw materials containing heavy metals, inadequate processing or handling equipment, or discharges of contaminated industrial wastewater.


Implement quality control procedures: Companies should implement quality control procedures to ensure that finished products do not contain excessive amounts of heavy metals. This may include the use of regular heavy metal assays and compliance verification protocols, as well as the establishment of strict production standards.


Use safer substitutes: In some cases, companies may be able to use safer substitutes to replace heavy metals in their manufacturing processes. More environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives can be used to replace products containing heavy metals.


Educate employees: Companies need to educate and train their employees on the risks associated with heavy metal contamination and the preventive measures that need to be put in place to minimise the risks. Employees must be informed about safety procedures, personal protective equipment and emergency protocols.

Reminder: what is arsenic?
Arsenic is a chemical element with an electronic configuration similar to that of phosphorus, and is located just above it on the periodic table. Like phosphorus, arsenic can form covalent bonds with other elements. However, it also has metallic properties, making it useful for making alloys. Arsenic is used in many fields, including the semiconductor industry, alloy manufacture, agriculture (in the form of pesticides) and medicine (in certain cancer treatments). However, excessive exposure to arsenic can be harmful to health, as it is toxic to human cells. Arsenic is also considered a known human carcinogen.

Arsenic is frequently dosed in industry for several reasons. Firstly, arsenic can be a common contaminant in various types of industrial chemicals and processing agents. Companies that produce or use these chemicals may be required to carry out regular tests to check for the presence of arsenic in their samples.

In addition, arsenic may be present in soil samples as a result of environmental contamination. Analysis laboratories may therefore be asked to carry out tests on soil samples taken from industrial areas or which have been exposed to chemicals containing arsenic.

Finally, laboratories can carry out arsenic measurements as part of scientific research studies. Scientists can study the effects of arsenic on the environment, pharmacology and other related subjects. An arsenic assay is needed to measure the concentration of arsenic in samples and to understand how it interacts with other chemical compounds.

Phthalates can be dosed in a variety of different ways. Phthalates are chemical compounds commonly used as plasticisers to improve the flexibility, durability and performance of many plastic products. However, they can also be toxic to human health at high concentrations.

Here are some examples of why phthalates may need to be dosed:

In the children's toy industry: Phthalates can be present in children's plastic toys. In many countries, there are strict regulatory standards concerning the amount of phthalates permitted in children's toys. Phthalate dosages are essential to ensure that toys do not contain dangerous quantities of these chemical compounds.

In the food industry: Studies have shown that phthalates can migrate from plastic food packaging into the food it contains. Phthalate testing is therefore necessary to ensure that foods do not contain harmful levels of these chemicals.

In the textile industry: Phthalates can also be found in soft plastic or vinyl clothing, as well as in certain types of synthetic leather. Phthalate dosages are essential to ensure that garments do not contain dangerous quantities of these chemical compounds.

In the medical industry: Phthalates can be used in plastic medical devices such as catheters and blood bags. Phthalate testing can help to ensure that devices do not contain harmful levels of these chemicals.

Clément BOENARD
Clément BOENARD Head of Analysis Department
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