Standard Active Last Updated: May 02, 2022
ASTM D6785-20

Standard Test Method for Determination of Lead in Workplace Air Using Flame or Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry

Significance and Use

6.1 The health of workers in many industries, for example, mining, metal refining, battery manufacture, construction, etc., is at risk through exposure by inhalation of particulate lead and lead compounds. Industrial hygienists and other public health professionals need to determine the effectiveness of measures taken to control workers' exposure, and this is generally achieved by making workplace air measurements. This standard has been published in order to make available a method for making valid exposure measurements for lead. It will be of benefit to: agencies concerned with health and safety at work; industrial hygienists and other public health professionals; analytical laboratories; industrial users of metals and metalloids and their workers, etc. It has been assumed in the drafting of this standard that the execution of its provisions, and the interpretation of the results obtained, is entrusted to appropriately qualified and experienced people.

6.2 The measuring procedure shall comply with any relevant International, European or National Standard that specifies performance requirements for procedures for measuring chemical agents in workplace air (for example, ISO 20581).


1.1 This standard specifies flame and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometric methods for the determination of the time-weighted average mass concentration of particulate lead and lead compounds in workplace air.

1.2 The method is applicable to personal sampling of the inhalable fraction of airborne particles, as defined in ISO 7708, and to static (area) sampling.

1.3 The sample dissolution procedure specifies hot plate or microwave digestion, or ultrasonic extraction (10.2). The sample dissolution procedure is not effective for all lead compounds (see Section 5). The use of an alternative, more vigorous dissolution procedure is necessary when it is desired to extract lead from compounds present in the test atmosphere that are insoluble using the dissolution procedures described herein. For example if it is desired to determine silicate lead, a hydrofluoric acid dissolution procedure is required.

1.4 The flame atomic absorption method is applicable to the determination of masses of approximately 1 to 200 μg of lead per sample, without dilution (1).2 The graphite furnace atomic absorption method is applicable to the determination of masses of approximately 0.01 to 0.5 μg of lead per sample, without dilution (1).

1.5 The ultrasonic extraction procedure has been validated for the determination of masses of approximately 20 to 100 μg of lead per sample, for laboratory-generated lead fume air filter samples (2).

1.6 The concentration range for lead in air for which this procedure is applicable is determined in part by the sampling procedure selected by the user (see Section 9).

1.7 Anions that form precipitates with lead may interfere, but this potential interference is overcome by the addition of the disodium salt of ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) when necessary.

1.8 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.9 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.10 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 11.07
Developed by Subcommittee: D22.12
Pages: 15
DOI: 10.1520/D6785-20
ICS Code: 13.040.30; 71.040.50