First automated trace metals analyzer reduces drinking water safety risks

Nov. 18, 2004
TraceDetect's SafeGuard system displays arsenic content down to 2 ppb in 20 minutes...

SEATTLE, Nov. 17, 2004 (PRNewswire) -- TraceDetect this week announced SafeGuardTM, an automated trace metals analyzer that simplifies the measurement of arsenic and other metals in water. The new analyzer will measure total arsenic down to 2 parts per billion (ppb), without requiring a chemist to operate the instrument and interpret results. It has applications in community water systems, where government regulations demand stringent testing of arsenic in water.

SafeGuard is the first automated analyzer with the accuracy required to meet the 2006 EPA arsenic limit for drinking water. Water quality departments are accustomed to waiting two weeks for arsenic analyses from off- site laboratories. In addition to the prolonged health risks to customers, violators risk stiff fines for each day their arsenic levels exceed the limit. The unit reduces those risks by displaying test results on site in 20 minutes.

"The TraceDetect SafeGuard is undeniably fast -- it produces the analysis on the spot," says Chet Auckley, director of Quality & Regulatory Affairs for California Water Service Company (Cal Water). "We did our homework to make sure it would consistently give us test results that matched ICP-MS for accuracy. Nothing's more important, when it comes to arsenic compliance, than getting fast results that are very accurate. SafeGuard gives us exactly that."

A prototype was successfully tested at Cal Water by independent researchers from PureSense (Moffett Field, CA), which systematically compared SafeGuard's field test results against independent laboratory results. Based on the tests, PureSense recommended SafeGuard for arsenic compliance testing at Cal Water.

"The TraceDetect SafeGuard technology was found to be robust," said PureSense's Michelle Frey, Ph.D., vice president of Product & Service Delivery, who conducted the Cal Water field tests. "The system operated with very little human interaction. The results agreed with an independent commercial laboratory performing paired sample analyses using ICP-MS methods."

Studies have linked long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water to cancer and other adverse health effects. In 2001, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a new standard to reduce the public health risks from toxins in drinking water, it lowered the arsenic limit from 50 ppb to 10 ppb. The nation's 54,000 community water systems must be in compliance with the EPA rule by January 2006.

SafeGuard is a compact bench analyzer that uses Nano-BandTM technology to detect trace metals down to 2 ppb levels. SafeGuard performs speciation of arsenate and arsenite, for results that are more meaningful than a single reading of total arsenic. Automated sample preparation reduces setup and operating costs, compared to conventional ICP-MS methods.

About TraceDetect
Founded in 1998, TraceDetect Inc. ( is a leading provider of on-site trace metals monitoring and analysis equipment. TraceDetect's patented products enable in-field and in-situ detection of trace metal concentrations down to sub-parts per billion (ppb) in the water treatment, industrial process, semiconductor, and chemical manufacturing industries. Unlike traditional metal analysis that requires expensive, off-site laboratory services involving long wait times, TraceDetect offers simple-to-use products with instant analysis results at a fraction of the cost and time.


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