Volume 47, Issue 5 (September 2002)
Levels of Trace and Major Elements in Illicit Heroin
Ten elements, aluminum (Al), barium (Ba), calcium (Ca), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) were analyzed in 44 illicit heroin samples from Southeast Anatolia, Turkey. Illicit heroin samples were dissolved in nitric acid using microwave oven and were quantified by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (Cd and Pb) and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (Al, Ba, Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, and Zn). The most abundant element was calcium, 4050 to 14200 μg/g, which could be ascribed to the use of lime in the manufacturing process and/or as diluting agent. Iron (180 to 1470 μg/g), aluminum (42 to 2280 μg/g), and zinc (160 to 210 μg/g) were found at moderately high levels, possibly because of the use of metal pots in the acetic anhydride cooking process and also for storage. Cadmium and lead concentrations were at the lowest measured levels. The amounts of magnesium, manganese, barium, and copper were in the range of 100 to 800 μg/g, 3 to 17 μg/g, 4 to 30 μg/g, and 2 to 46 μg/g, respectively.