Inductively coupled plasma mass
spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used to measure the levels of trace heavy metals in human
urine and sweat, to compare the performance of ICP-MS using three sample
processing methods, namely direct dilution, wet digestion, and microwave digestion.
The results showed that the wet digestion ICP-MS method has the highest
accuracy (relative standard deviation ≤10%) and is more useful for measuring
the levels of trace heavy metals in urine and sweat. Hence, we used this method
to compare the levels of the five trace heavy metals, namely chromium, copper,
zinc, cadmium, and lead, in the urine and sweat of adults after strenuous exercise.
The results showed that the levels of these five trace heavy metals in sweat
were significantly higher than those in urine after strenuous exercise (The
differences between the measurements in urine and those in sweat were
significant P ≤ 0.01). The results suggested that exercise-induced sweating can
effectively remove the harmful heavy metals from the human body.