Dispensing diluent into samples.

Trace Elements Specimen and Shipping Instructions


Please carefully read the recommended specimen and shipping instructions before ordering a test. Incomplete and/or illegible requisitions and/or specimen labeling will result in testing being suspended until the complete information can be obtained.

Specimen Requirements:

Whole blood, erythrocytes, plasma, serum or urine can all be used for trace element measurement.

In some cases it may also be helpful to measure the trace elements in hair, nails and liver tissue. Selection of the appropriate specimens is necessary for maximizing clinical utility of trace element analysis.

Primary Blood Collection Tubes

For whole blood, erythrocytes and plasma analysis, BD 6 ml K2-EDTA Royal Blue Vacutainer (Reference # 368381) is the recommended collection tube.

For serum analysis, BD 6 ml Non Additive Royal Blue Vacutainer (Reference # 368380) is the recommended collection tube.

For Antimony analysis, BD 10 ml Na-heparin green top glass Vacutainer (Reference # 366480) is the recommended collection tube.

Secondary Storage Tube

Erythrocytes and plasma samples must be separated and transferred into a secondary tube within 30 minutes for pre-analytical storage and transportation. The best storage tube is the Sarstedt 8 ml polypropylene tube (Reference # 60.542.024).

Urine Sample Container

For collection of 24 hour urine, a brand new wide mouthed 4 L polypropylene or polyethylene container should be used. Containers do not need to be acid washed. For random urine collection, a brand new 100 ml container (orange cap) can be used.

Hair Sample Collection

Hair should be collected closest to the scalp and cut at the nape of the neck, and place in a plastic envelope. One heaping teaspoon is needed. For long hair, 1 inch of hair should be collected from the scalp end. For short hair, thinning shears can be used. The test should not be done if hair has been permed, bleached or dyed in the past two months.

Tissue Sample Collection

Samples for analysis may include paraffin blocks, fresh or frozen tissue in saline or formalin. Paraffin block is the recommended sample. Note: tissue will be destroyed during process, therefore it cannot be returned.

Nails Sample Collection

Nails should be clipped using a clean pair of nail clippers or scissors. Nails samples clipped from all fingers and toes onto a clean piece of paper are placed into a clean mailing envelope.

Specimen Volume Requirements:

Matrix Type Minimum Requirement Preferred Amount
Plasma 1.0 ml 3.0 ml
Serum 1.0 ml 3.0 ml
Erythrocyte 1.0 ml 3.0 ml
Whole Blood 1.0 ml 6.0 ml
Urine 5.0 ml 10.0 ml
Hair 0.1 g 0.2 g (or more)
Nail 0.1 g 0.2 g (or more)
Tissue 0.0003 g 0.001 g (or more)

Shipping Instruction:

Lab Hours: 0700 to 1600 Monday to Friday.

Sample Handling: Blood and urine samples should be shipped at room temperature if using one-day courier service. If longer than 1 day shipping use ice packs or dry ice to keep at 2 to 8 °C. Hair, nails and paraffin blocks can be shipped at room temperature.

Mailing Address:
Sample Receiving Area
Victoria Hospital, Room D1-206
London Health Sciences Centre
800 Commissioners Rd E.
London, Ontario, Canada
N6A 5W9

Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry London Health Sciences CentreSt. Joseph's Health Care LondonWestern University