Sample preparation methods for non-separation cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry (CVAAS) sequential inorganic mercury speciation in biological certified reference materials (CRMs) were investigated. The methylmercury concentration was calculated as the difference between total and inorganic mercury. Microwave-assisted decomposition method, and three ultrasonic extraction procedures based on acid leaching with HCl and HCOOH and solubilization with TMAH were employed as sample preparation methods. The replacement of a sample decomposition procedure by extraction prior to analysis by CVAAS, as well as the aspect of speciation analysis is discussed. The limits of detection in the sample were determined as 50 and 10 ng L−1 for inorganic and total mercury, which corresponds to absolute detection limits of 40 and 8 ng g−1 for inorganic and total mercury, respectively. The results were in good agreement with the 95% confidence level t-test of the certified values for total and inorganic mercury in the reference materials investigated. From the analysis of the CRMs, it was evident that the difference between the total and inorganic mercury concentrations agrees with the methylmercury concentration. The relative standard deviation was better than 11% for most of the samples. <alternatives> [...] </alternatives>
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