Ordering Recommendation

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


Quantitative Atomic Absorption/Quantitative Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry




1-3 days

New York DOH Approval Status
This test is New York DOH 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 Na2EDTA).

Specimen Preparation

Transport 7 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 (EDTA). Specimens transported in containers other than Royal Blue (EDTA) tube or Trace Element-Free Transport Tube. Heparin anticoagulant. Clotted specimens.


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


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

Reference Interval

0.0-10.0 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.

Compliance Statement B: For laboratory developed tests not using a RUO kit, and for FDA approved, cleared or 510(k) exempt assays with alterations. This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by ARUP Laboratories. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved or cleared this test; however, FDA clearance or approval is not currently required for clinical use. The results are not intended to be used as the sole means for clinical diagnosis or patient management decisions.


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