In the area of element determination, we analyse heavy metals (contaminants) and minerals in water, foodstuffs, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics. The group of contaminants contains, for example, lead, cadmium, tin and mercury. In order to protect consumers, European Directive 1881/2006 sets out maximum permitted quantities. An inspection of foodstuffs is therefore unavoidable. Minerals are divided into trace elements (selenium, iodine, manganese etc) and bulk elements (alkaline and earth alkaline metals). They are essential for life, but are not synthesised in the body itself, and must therefore be added to food.
As well as a screening method (semi-quantitative determination of elements), the Institut Kirchhoff GmbH also offers a multimethod (fully quantitative), for around 20 elements, as well as determination of individual elements (iodine, bromide, phosphor, inorganic arsenic (As III and As IV) etc. We use a multitide of analysis techniques to determine elements from Al (aluminium) right up to Zn (zinc):
- Graphite furnace AAS
- FIMS (flow injection mercury system)
- IC-ICP/MS coupling
To demonstrate our operational performance, we regularly and successfully take part in national and international round robin tests (FAPAS, LVU, bipea etc), with various matrices. Our active participation in various panels, as well as in the elements and element species working group of the GdCH (Society of German Chemists) additionally enables us always keep abreast of changes in analytical standards.
In December 2014, the ICH Q3D guideline on elemental impurities in medicinal products was implemented. According to this guideline, by the end of 2017, finished medicinal products must be subjected to a risk analysis in order to assess the possible presence of metallic impurities. For this purpose, we have developed a standardised screening method that has already been implemented with success.