• Rossetti Written by Mirco Rossetti, Application Specialist | 1 July 2022

The Cost Benefits of Direct Mercury Analysis
How do you know the bottom line?


Let’s take a more detailed look at the cost of analysis comparison between a dedicated mercury analyzer and one using Direct Mercury Analysis. It’s also worth noting that there are three approved methods using this approach - EPA Method 7473 for solid samples and liquids, ASTM method D-7623-10 for total mercury in crude oil using combustion gold amalgamation and cold vapor atomic absorption method and ASTM 6722-01 for coal combustion products. The EPA method states that total mercury can be determined in either the laboratory or a fi eld setting without sample chemical pretreatment in less than 5 minutes. You know that over the next 12 months you’ll be getting a high workload of samples, so it sounds ideally suited for what you want to do. However, you are unsure if the cost savings can justify the investment for a new Direct Mercury Analysis instrument. This is the exact scenario that many labs are faced with when the demand for mercury analysis increases significantly. To stay with traditional dedicated mercury techniques such as CV-AAS/ AFS or perhaps move some of the samples over to the ICP mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), which is predominantly used for drinking water and wastewater analysis, or to invest in the direct mercury technique. So, let’s take a closer look at the comparison in running costs between the Milestone DMA-80 evo and CV-AAS/AFS, and also how they stack up against ICP-MS, to see if the investment can be justified. Note: For this exercise, we’ll make the comparison using similar sample types that require some type of sample pretreatment or preparation (e.g., solids or liquids that require digestion).

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Further reading

  1. EPA Method 7471B (SW-846): Mercury in Solid or Semisolid Wastes (Manual Cold-Vapor Technique), Link ➝
  2. The Benefits of Direct Mercury Analysis: A Technology Review. Milestone srl, Link ➝
  3. EPA Method 7473: Mercury in Solids and Solutions by Thermal Decomposition, Amalgamation, and Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry, Link ➝
  4. ASTM Method D-7623-10 for total mercury in crude oil using combustion gold amalgamation and cold vapor atomic absorption method, Link ➝
  5. ASTM Method D6722-01: Standard Test Method for Total Mercury in Coal and Coal Combustion Residues by Direct Combustion Analysis, Link ➝

Guidelines for direct mercury analysis with no sample preparation

DMA-980 evo

DMA-80 evo

The DMA-80 mercury determination system can analyze any matrix (solid, liquid or gas) without any pre-treatment or chemical additions in as few as 6 minutes in full compliance with EPA method 7473. With thousands of units installed, Milestone defines the benchmark for direct mercury determination a wide range of industries: environmental, food energy, cement, cosmetics, agriculture, mining and petrochemical.
  • Improved design from the outside out for superior performance event at the ppt level. Easy-to-use technology with a single long-lasting calibration for all matrices.
  • No memory effect thanks to the revolutionary autoblank feature.
  • Milestone Connect for 30-years of experience at your fingertips
  • Fully compliant with US EPA Method 7473, ASTM method D-6722-01 and D-7623-10.
  • Maximize your ROI with an easy-to-maintain system and reliable components.


Milestone DMA-1 is a direct mercury analyzer of solid, liquid, and gas samples. Analysis time is 5 minutes only and no sample preparation is required. The DMA-1 analyzer is based on the principles of sample thermal decomposition, mercury amalgamation and atomic absorption detection.
  • No sample preparation or other wet chemistry prior the analysis.
  • Ease of use. Just weigh your sample, load it onto the instrument and press ‘start’.
  • Lowest cost of analysis. Speed of analysis, components' long lifetime, sample boats durability maximum cost-effectiveness of DMA-1 mercury determination system.
  • Standard method compliance. US EPA method 7473, ASTM method D-6722-01 and D-7623-10.