Flett Research Ltd
440 DeSalaberry Avenue, Winnipeg MB CANADA Phone/Fax: (204) 667-2505
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Flett Research Mercury Services

Flett Research Ltd. has been performing ultra-trace level mercury and methyl mercury measurements since 1991. We provide highly technical scientific support in environmental research; our client base is international and includes universities, provincial, state and federal government departments, electric power utilities, mining companies and private consulting firms.

Our company has been actively involved in a number of large interdisciplinary research projects which require reliable trace Hg analyses in fresh and salt water, sediments and plant or animal tissue. This includes being the major contractor for the international 5-year government / multi-university ELARP mercury study (Experimental Lakes Area Reservoir Project) headed by Dr. John Rudd of the Freshwater Institute, Winnipeg (Fisheries and Oceans). The long term follow-up mercury analyses continue to be performed by us. We were the key mercury lab for the FLUDEX project (FLooded Uplands Dynamics EXperiment) headed by Dr. Drew Bodaly of the Experimental Lakes Area Research Station. Mercury analyses have also been provided for the METAALICUS Study (Mercury Experiment To Assess Atmospheric Loading In Canada and the United States). Our experience in these studies lead to the US Environmental Protection Agency inviting the company to participate in the validation of their new ultra trace mercury method 1631, a fact that attests to the quality of analyses performed by Flett Research.

Measurement of mercury in the environment and determining the environmental pathway of the element is a high priority research topic in the world. It is only since 1989 that new technology has made such measurements possible. The concentration of total mercury in unpolluted water is sometimes as low as 100 parts per quadrillion; methyl mercury may be less than 20 parts per quadrillion. To our knowledge, Flett Research is one of the few commercial laboratories that can measure such low levels of mercury.

Commitment to High Quality Data and Customer Service

The management and staff at Flett Research Ltd. are committed to providing excellence in quality of data within a reasonable time period, efficiently, and at a reasonable cost. Service to our clients is of utmost importance.

Clients can expect results that are presented accurately, clearly, and objectively. Any information needed to interpret the results will be included in the test report. Each report is uniquely identified and is authorized by the chief scientist following a series of multi-level checks within the laboratory.

Our mercury methods have been in use since 1991 and have been validated in accordance with EPA and ISO/IEC 17025 protocols.

Flett Research is proudly accredited by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) and shows ongoing compliance to ISO/IEC 17025 requirements through performance in a variety of proficiency testing programs and on-site audits.

Sampling for ultra-trace level Mercury

Starting your project with the proper supplies and knowledge of correct sampling procedures will help to ensure the quality of your data and contribute to the overall success of your project. This is especially important when collecting samples for ultra-trace level mercury or methyl mercury analysis. Our staff can give advice on sampling techniques and correct selection of supplies.


Since 2006 our lab has been a major participant in the analysis of total and methyl mercury for the Penobscot River Mercury Study in Maine, USA. During the course of analysing mercury in sediment for this project, a large discrepancy in monomethylmercury (MMHg ) concentrations determined by the acid distillation and the solvent extraction methods was revealed during review of such data from labs at Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory, Trent University and Flett Research Ltd.

Research performed in our lab indicated that, recovery of methyl mercury from MeHg sample spikes and CRM IAEA405 sediment was similar for both methods, but recovery of MeHg from hundreds of the Penobscot sediments was about 2 times higher by distillation than by methylene chloride extraction. Spiking with inorganic mercury indicated that the higher recovery by distillation was not significantly due to the conversion of inorganic Hg into methyl mercury. It was found that both heat and acid were important for the enhanced MeHg recovery of the distillation method, when compared to the methylene chloride extraction method.

With the permission from Penobscot River Mercury Study, results for this research were presented in July 2011 at the 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The poster can be seen here in Portable Document Format(pdf) or here as a Microsoft PowerPoint format.

For additional information, contact Dr. Robert Flett at flett@flettresearch.ca

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Flett Research Ltd - 440 DeSalaberry Ave - Winnipeg Manitoba CANADA   R2L 0Y7

Phone/Fax: (204) 667-2505

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