Does ALS provide sampling instructions?

Yes, please follow this link to sampling instructions for clinical samples.

Should I send blood, plasma or serum?

ALS offers accredited analyses of all mentioned matrices. Doctors or other medical professionals typically decide on which sample type to send for analysis.

The concentration of certain elements will vary between blood and serum. Iron, lead, cadmium and mercury for example will generally be higher in blood since the mentioned elements are protein-bound.

Blood plasma (or plasma) is the remainder of the blood when all cells have been removed. Blood plasma is 90 % water and its’ function is to transport numerous substances to the cells.

Serum is a yellowish, transparent fluid. Serum is what is left after having coagulated a blood sample and removed corpuscles and coagulation proteins.

How do I send samples for analysis? Am I required to label the envelope/package in a certain way?

Samples stored in transportation tubes can generally be sent in padded envelopes to ALS.

All envelopes or parcels containing biological samples must be labelled UN3373 and Biological material category B.

ALS generally recommends avoiding samples over weekends and that samples are cooled/frozen in transport (see recommendations for each specific sample type). If samples for metal analysis is transported in ambient temperature, freight time should not exceed 2 workdays and not be transported via warm regions. For blood shipped in ambient temperature it is of extra importance that sample is homogenized to avoid coagulation.

Can I send samples over the weekend?

ALS recommends that samples shipments are planned so that the samples arrive to ALS as quickly as possible. Samples drawn at the end of the week are to be stored in a refrigerator or freezer over weekends. Please see our sampling instructions for more information about storage recommendations for different sample types.

My sample has been frozen prior to sending it to ALS, do I need to inform the laboratory about this?

Yes, this information is to be stated on the order form that is sent along with the sample(s) to ALS.

How much sample is needed for analysis?

Recommended sample amounts for metal analysis of clinical samples are given below:

Blood, serum and plasma: 3ml
Urine: 60ml

ALS can perform analyses on significantly less volumes than what is recommended. Our accredited method for analysis of metals prescribes 200µL (0.2ml). There are two main reasons why we recommend our clients to send more than the minimum volume:

  • In case something unexpected should occur or if the client should request an additional analysis it is practical to have additional sample without having to send new samples to the laboratory.
  • It may be practically challenging to pipette small sample amounts, it is therefore good to have a certain margin in order to assure that we are able to obtain the prescribed sample volume.

For more information, please see our sampling instructions.

Can I order test tubes from ALS Scandinavia?

Yes, all sample containers that can be used for sampling clinical samples can be ordered through our website. Please follow this link.

Test tubes can also be ordered by contacting our client service. 

I would like to analyze several elements, is one tube enough or do I need to draw several samples?

One test tube is enough for metal analysis. ALS Scandinavia uses a multi-element technique (ICP-SFMS) that allows us to measure up to 70+ elements in a single sample.

If you would like to place an order for analysis of both metals, element speciation and/or isotope analysis however, a higher volume may be required.

Does ALS provide official reference data?

No, the reference data on elements in clinical samples found at our website is based on several research articles partially authored by employees at ALS Scandinavia AB.

The staff at ALS Scandinavia AB is experts in performing metal analyses of clinical samples but unfortunately not in a position to be responsible for maintaining up-to-date reference values for all elements since this is an area in constant change. For such reference values, we kindly refer to for example a doctor and/or a toxicologists. The concentrations of different metals in clinical samples may vary due to a number of factors such as geographic residence, food, sex or if they are smokers or non-smokers. Consequently, reference values vary between different studies.

Consequently, the reference data found on our website is not intended for use as official reference values.

Click here to access data partially produced by ALS Scandinavia 

I cannot find the analysis I am looking for?

Please contact us! ALS Scandinavia AB is a part of ALS Group, one of the world’s biggest testing service providers. We have a broad network of laboratories and may therefore be able to assist you in finding a laboratory that can offer the analysis you are looking for.