Ordering Recommendation

Preferred test for the assessment of acute mercury exposure. For chronic exposure, Mercury, Urine (0025050) is preferred.

New York DOH Approval Status

This test is New York state approved.

Specimen Required

Patient Preparation

Diet, medication, and nutritional supplements may introduce interfering substances. Patient should be encouraged to discontinue nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals, and non-essential over-the-counter medications (upon the advice of their physician), and avoid shellfish and seafood for 48 to 72 hours.


Royal blue (K2EDTA) or Royal blue (NaHep).

Specimen Preparation

Transport 6 mL whole blood in the original collection tube. (Min: 0.5 mL)

Storage/Transport Temperature

Room temperature. Also acceptable: Refrigerated.

Unacceptable Conditions

Specimens collected in tubes other than Royal blue (K2EDTA) or Royal blue (NaHep). Specimens transported in containers other than Royal blue (K2EDTA) or Royal blue (NaHep) tube or Trace Element-Free Transport Tube.  Clotted specimens.


Trace Elements requisition form may be required (ARUP form #32990).


Ambient: 1 week; Refrigerated: 1 week; Frozen: Unacceptable


Quantitative Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)




1-3 days

Reference Interval

Less than or equal to 10.0 µg/L

Interpretive Data

Elevated results may be due to skin or collection-related contamination, including the use of a noncertified metal-free collection/transport tube. If contamination concerns exist due to elevated levels of blood mercury, confirmation with a second specimen collected in a certified metal-free tube is recommended.

Blood mercury levels predominantly reflect recent exposure and are most useful in the diagnosis of acute poisoning as blood mercury concentrations rise sharply and fall quickly over several days after ingestion. Blood concentrations in unexposed individuals rarely exceed 20 µg/L. The provided reference interval relates to inorganic mercury concentrations. Dietary and non-occupational exposure to organic mercury forms may contribute to an elevated total mercury result. Clinical presentation after toxic exposure to organic mercury may include dysarthria, ataxia and constricted vision fields with mercury blood concentrations from 20 to 50 µg/L.

This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by ARUP Laboratories. It has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This test was performed in a CLIA certified laboratory and is intended for clinical purposes.

Compliance Category

Laboratory Developed Test (LDT)


Mercury is volatile; concentration may decrease over time.

Hotline History


CPT Codes



Component Test Code* Component Chart Name LOINC
0099305 Mercury Blood 5685-3
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, please click the sidebar link to access the Interface Map.


  • Hg
  • Hg WB
  • HGB
Mercury, Whole Blood