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Specialty Analyses

Inorganics, Specialty Metals and Other Specialty Organics

In addition to the many specialty tests described throughout our site, TestAmerica offers numerous other non-routine test methodologies.

AVS-SEM Acid Volatile Sulfides/Simultaneously Extracted Metals

Sulfide is a precipitant of heavy metals and is important in controlling the bioavailability of metals in sediment. To support our clients’ evaluation of the bioavailability of divalent metals in sediment, TestAmerica developed the capabilities in the early 2000s to support the procedure identified in US EPA Draft Method, “Determination of Acid Volatile Sulfides and Simultaneously Extractable Metals in Sediment,” EPA-821-R-91-100.

TestAmerica has also supported clients with alternative method collection and sample handling procedures to minimize exposure of sediment samples to ambient air. We received sediment cores from the field and subsampled these cores in a nitrogen filled glove box to minimize the samples’ exposure to ambient air. We have also provided alternate sample collection devices using syringes to collect samples in the field and minimize their exposure to air.

Mercury, Low Level (EPA Method 1631, AFS)

TestAmerica developed a Low Level Mercury Analysis following EPA Method 1631 in 2002. This method also requires the laboratory to provide detailed sample collection and sampling handling instructions and materials to appropriately collect the samples and prevent contamination from field activities. TestAmerica added the additional capabilities to support this method in soil, sediment and tissue analysis as well.

Mercury, Methyl (EPA Method 1630)

TestAmerica developed the capability to support Methyl Mercury by EPA Method 1630 analysis in a wide variety of matrices including sediment, surface water and tissue samples. TestAmerica identified issues associated with matrix interferences for the method in the analysis of brackish waters. The laboratories investigated and implemented an alternative USGS method preparation procedure for this matrix. Due to the matrix interference issues for tissue samples, TestAmerica also uses the Florida DEP sample preparation procedure for tissue samples. TestAmerica has also supported the analysis of passive samplers using DGT®, which were deployed in sediment samples as well.


TestAmerica supports the analysis of organolead using methodology developed by the state of California.


Since the late 1990s, TestAmerica has developed environmental testing capabilities to support organotins analysis. This is for specific program requirements in ship building and the associated estuary and marine environments.  Matrices we support include salt water, brackish water and sediment, as well as pore water.

Phthalic and Maleic acids/anhydrides

Phthalic anhydride is a principal commercial form of phthalic acid. It was the first anhydride of a dicarboxylic acid to be used commercially. This colorless solid is an important industrial chemical, especially for the large-scale production of plasticizers. Maleic acid is an industrial raw material for the production of glyoxylic acid by ozonolysis. Maleic acid may be used to form acid addition salts with drugs to make them more stable, such as indacaterol maleate.

Sequential Extraction Procedure Metals (SEP)

The use of natural attenuation as a remediation technique requires an understanding of the natural processes occurring at a site. For metals, natural attenuation typically involves a decrease in metal toxicity and/or mobility through dispersion, dilution, sorption and/or redox processes. One way to determine the geochemical fractionation of these metals in laboratory scale operations is through the use of a sequential extraction procedure. TestAmerica has evaluated and analyzed more than 300 samples for as many as 23 different elements. The data produced from this procedure are used for characterizing metal fate and transport, evaluating potential remedial alternatives for metal impacted soil, and estimating metal bioavailability for metals in soils or sediments.

While this procedure cannot be used to identify the actual form of a given metal in a soil, it is useful in grouping metals into immobilization phases or fractions. TestAmerica's SEP approach is a form of the consensus method for extraction being developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (Schultz, et. al., 1996). Although the steps vary based on the data needs of each project, the seven potential steps in the SEP include the following:

  • Step 1 – Exchangeable Fraction
  • Step 2 – Organic-Bound Fraction
  • Step 3 – Carbonate Fraction
  • Step 4 – Non-Crystalline Materials Fraction
  • Step 5 – Metal Hydroxide Fraction
  • Step 6 – Acid/Sulfide Fraction
  • Step 7 – Residual Fraction

Passive Sampling for Metals

Traditional analytical methods for sediment materials measure suspended sediment and colloidal content along with the freely dissolved chemicals. As a result, these protocols often report levels of chemicals in water samples that far exceed their maximum solubility. Surface and pore waters contain particulate and colloidal materials. These suspended materials have significant levels of contaminants that are not bioavailable. TestAmerica supports passive analysis by DTG for metals.

Other Specialty Organics

Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA) is part of a suite of emerging environmental contaminants that are supported by TestAmerica. The chemical has been produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. The 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found detectable levels of BPA in 93 percent of 2,517 urine samples from people 6 years and older.

Glycols by LCMS

In 2012, TestAmerica developed an LC/MS method for glycol compounds in support of the oil and gas fracking market. Our goal was to evaluate the potential impact to groundwater and surface water of some of the additives used in the well development. The LC/MS method provides a low sensitivity as well as specificity in identification. 

Proprietary Pesticides

TestAmerica offers a gas chromatography method for the analysis of proprietary pesticides including:  Ametryn, Atrazine, Butylate, Carbophenthion, Cycloate, Fonophos, EPTC, Methyl Carbophenothion, Molinate, Ethyl Parathion, Pebulate, Vernolate and Sumithion.

A full copy of TestAmerica's Specialty Capability Matrix is available for download.  We strive to keep the document up to date, but do change analytical offerings to match current market demand.  For the most up-to-date information concerning our specialty and routine offerings, please contact your Project Manager, or utilize our Analytical Services Search function.