Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Chemistry

First Advisor

Professor Curtis McDonald


The problems of lead as an environmental toxicant are well established. These problems are complicated by the need for better analytical methods to determine trace quantities of lead in various biological samples, particularly biological fluids. The most widely used method which clinical laboratories use is the Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectroscopic (GFAAS) technique. The problems of determining lead in biological fluids such as blood are due to the low melting point of lead and the large amount of biological materials such as blood cell fragments. These cell fragment must be destroyed in the graphite furnace during the analysis. The addition of matrix modifiers have been suggested as a technique to improve the determination of lead in various biological materials using GFAAS. This study indicates that ruthenium can be used as a matrix modifier to stabilize lead several hundred degrees higher than is possible without the use of a modifier. It shows lead can only be pyrolyzed up to 600°C in the absence of a 2 modifier, but with the addition of ruthenium, it can be pyrolyzed up at temperature of lOOO°C. Consequently, separation of the analyte from the concomitants can be achieved