Environmental Samples

Methods for the determination of boron in environmental samples are summarized in Table 6-2

Boron is readily measured in multielement analyses of air, water, and solid waste samples by inductively coupled plasma (ICP) atomic emission spectroscopy, the method of choice for the determination of boron in modern practice. Although not multielement procedures, colorimetric cucumin and colorimetric carmine methods are still reliable methods for the determination of boron in water, air and solid waste samples. These colorimetric procedures provide adequate methods when ICP instrumentation is not available.

TABLE 6-1. Analytical Methods Boron in Biological Materials


Sample Preparation Analytical detection Percent matrix method method limit recovery Reference

Blood and uri ne

B1 ood

Serum (borate) B1 ood

Ashed, dissolved in HC1

Ashed by oxygen i n a Parr bomb, dissolved Deproteinized, allowed to react wi th reagent Ashed, dissolved

Biological Acid digestion materi ala

Colori metri c carmine method colori metri c carmine method Electrophoresi s


5|mg/100g bl ood

uri ne

>endogenous are <20 mg/L No data

No data

92%-104% No data No data

Imbus et al. 1963

Hill and Smith 1959 Baselt 1988

EPA 1986a aThis method is for water, sediments, and wastes.

^Method detection limit. Actual detection limits for boron in waste samples may be considerably higher. ICP/AES = inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy; HCI = hydrochloric acid; SA = atomic spectrographic analysis.

TABLE 6-2. Analytical Methods for Determining Boron in Environmental Samples


Analytical detection Percent

Sample matrix Preparation method method limit recovery Reference

Al r

Alr for boron carbi de



Water Water

Water collection on filter, workup In acid Collection on filter, ashed, suspended In 2-propanol, redeposlted on silver membrane filter Direct analysis

Ash, dissolve In acid

Acidify, Inject Direct analysis

Filter, acidify

Sediments, solid Acid digestion


x-ray powder dlffractlon

Colorlmetrlc curcumin Colorlmetrlc carmine ICP/AES Colorlmetrlc curcumin ICP/AES asplrati on ICP/AES

1 mg per sample 0.05 mg


NIOSH 1984

2 mg m m m m recovery

No data NIOSH 1985a

23% RSD APHA 1985a

36% RSD

APHA 1985b

No data APHA 1985°

23% RSD EPA 1983

No data EPA 1982

No data EPA 1986a wastes, sludges

Method detection limit. Actual detection limits for boron In waste samples may be 1-3 orders of magnitude higher. ICP/AES = Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy: RSD = relative standard deviation

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