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Organic Contaminants in Human Serum, Milk, and Urine


NIST and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have collaborated to develop SRMs to meet the expanding needs for exposure science measurements of organic contaminants in human fluids: two serum -- one natural level (non-fortified) and one fortified, two milk -- one natural level (non-fortified) and one fortified, and two urine -- one natural level collected from non-smokers one natural level collected from smokers. Results from measurements made at NIST and CDC as well as data from interlaboratory studies were used for value assignment of these SRMs.


]:  Photograph of two vials containing human milk Standard Reference Materials.

SRM 1953 Contaminants in Human Milk (non-fortified) and SRM 1954 Contaminants in Human Milk (fortified).

Credit: Lane Sander

The development of SRMs to support measurements for contaminants in human fluids expands quality assurance capabilities to important species critical to human health. These SRMs will be used by the biomonitoring laboratories to validate methods and control materials for specific analyses. We have developed and characterized several human-matrix SRMs for organic contaminants: human serum, human milk, and human urine reference materials. We employed results from multiple analytical methods at NIST and data provided collaborating laboratories to assign values to chemical composition. We are also developing robust methods of analysis for use by the biomonitoring community. 

Major Accomplishments

Two human serum SRMs, two human milk SRMs, and two human urine SRMs have been value assigned for a wide range of organic contaminants based on methods performed at NIST, CDC, and four additional collaborating laboratories. 

Additional Technical Details

NIST and CDC are collaborating on the development of seven SRMs that will be useful to the biomonitoring community. These include SRM 1953 Organic Contaminants in Non-Fortified Human Milk, SRM 1954 Organic Contaminants in Fortified Human Milk, SRM 1957 Organic Contaminants in Non-Fortified Human Serum, SRM 1958 Organic Contaminants in Fortified Human Serum, SRM 3672 Organic Contaminants in Smokers' Urine, SRM 3673 Organic Contaminants in Non-fortified Non-smokers' Urine, and SRM 3674 Organic Contaminants in Fortified Smokers' Urine. The fortified serum and milk samples were spiked with a solution containing 172 selected contaminants. The fortified samples contain a concentration of those contaminants at levels five to ten times higher than the median concentrations found in the U.S. population. Methods have been developed at NIST and at CDC for these measurements in the human serum and human milk materials, and the results from the independent methods were combined to provide certified concentration values for contaminants in those materials. The urine samples are now being characterized by NIST and CDC.

Associated Products

Associated Publications

1. Rodowa, A. E. and Reiner, J. L., "Utilization of a NIST SRM: a case study for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in NIST SRM 1957 organic contaminants in non-fortified human serum," Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 413, 2295-2301 (2021). 

2. Yu, L. L., Jarrett, J. M., Davis, W. C., Kilpatrick, E. L., Oflaz, R., Turk, G. C., Leber, D. D., Valentin, L., Morel-Espinosa, M., and Blount, B. C., "Characterization of perchlorate in a new frozen human urine standard reference material," Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 404, 1877-1886 (2012). 

3. Keller, J. M., Swarthout, R. F., Carlson, B. K. R., Yordy, J., Guichard, A., Schantz, M. M., and Kucklick, J. R., "Comparison of five extraction methods for measuring PCBs, PBDEs, organochlorine pesticides, and lipid content in serum," Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 393, 747-760 (2009). 

4. Poster, D. L., Kucklick, J. R., Schantz, M. M., Porter, B. J., Sander, L. C., and Wise, S. A., "New developments in Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) for environmental forensics," Environmental Forensics, 8, 181-191 (2007). 

5. Wise, S. A., Poster, D. L., Kucklick, J. R., Keller, J. M., VanderPol, S. S., Sander, L. C., and Schantz, M. M., "Standard reference materials (SRMs) for determination of organic contaminants in environmental samples," Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 386, 1153-1190 (2006).

Created January 24, 2009, Updated November 21, 2023