A Survey of Metal Contamination in Blood Collection Tubes on Toxicology Assays

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Suphakit Wechphanich, MD
Poowadol Thammarat, MSc


OBJECTIVE: To investigate metal contamination in lavender top blood collectiontubes (BCTs) coated with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) from the Departmentof Occupational Health at hospitals in Chonburi Province.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred and fifty lavender top blood collectiontubes (BCTs) that had been stored properly and were not expired from the Departmentof Occupational Health at 9 hospitals in Chonburi Province were collected. Deionizedwater which had already been screened for metal contamination was added to alllavender top BCTs. The samples were analyzed for metal contamination by inductivelycoupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

RESULTS: The metal contamination in BCTs included aluminum (Al), cadmium (Cd),chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), tin(Sn) and zinc (Zn). The first top 5 with highly contaminated median were zinc (20.39μg/L), aluminum (6.64 μg/L), copper (1.59 μg/L), nickel (1.14 μg/L), and lead (0.71μg/L). Aluminum and manganese were remarkable contamination when compared withthe reference values in humans. The contamination was different in each brand. However,arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), selenium (Se) and thallium (TI) were not found.

CONCLUSION: This study showed that there was metal contamination in lavendertop BCTs. However, the laboratory errors can occur in several stages. Hence, it isimportant to review the validity and quality of the entire procedure prior to the adoptionof the outcomes. Many decontamination techniques were suggested, but they are notpractical. Therefore, royal blue top BCTs were recommended for blood collection formetal or trace element analysis.


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Wechphanich S, Thammarat P. A Survey of Metal Contamination in Blood Collection Tubes on Toxicology Assays. BKK Med J [Internet]. 2017 Sep. 20 [cited 2023 Jun. 3];13(2):5. Available from: https://he02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/bkkmedj/article/view/221899
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