Rwanda Standards Board
IKIGO CY’IGIHUGU GITSURA UBUZIRANENGE

HEAVY METALS

Heavy metals are natural components of the Earth's crust. They cannot be degraded or destroyed. To a small extent they enter our bodies via food, drinking water and air. As trace elements, some heavy metals (e.g. copper, selenium, zinc) are essential to maintain the metabolism of the human body. However, at higher concentrations they can be toxic. Heavy metal poisoning could result, for instance, from drinking-water contamination (e.g. lead pipes), high ambient air concentrations near emission sources, or intake via the food chain. 

Heavy metals are dangerous because they tend to bioaccumulate. Bioaccumulation means an increase in the concentration of a chemical in a biological organism over time, compared to the chemical's concentration in the environment. Compounds accumulate in living things any time they are taken up and stored faster than they are broken down (metabolized) or excreted. 

In order to meet the customers' needs and to give reliable and quick results, the Rwanda Standards Board Testing Laboratory uses technologically advanced equipment including Atomic Absorption Spectrometers (AAS 800 Analyst) with Hydride Systems, Graphite Furnace and Flames for determination of metals like: Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Manganese, Iron, Nickel, Zinc, Copper, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Barium, Aluminium, Cobalt, Calcium, in food products.