A method for the determination of lead in urine by means of atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS) is described. A combination of wet ashing and extraction with ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate into isobutylmethylketone was used. The sensitivity was about 0·02 μg./ml. for 1% absorption, and the detection limit was about 0·02 μg./ml. with an instrumental setting convenient for routine analyses of urines. Using the scale expansion technique, the detection limit was below 0·01 μg./ml., but it was found easier to determine urinary lead concentrations below 0·05 μg./ml. by concentrating the lead in the organic solvent by increasing the volume of urine or decreasing that of the solvent. The method was applied to fresh urines, stored urines, and to urines, obtained during treatment with chelating agents, of patients with lead poisoning. Urines with added inorganic lead were not used. The results agreed well with those obtained with a colorimetric dithizone extraction method (r = 0·989). The AAS method is somewhat more simple and allows the determination of smaller lead concentrations.
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