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The simultaneous determination of major, trace, and rare earth elements in sediments requires the development of specific procedures to prevent interferences. A single digestion method adapted from the EPA method 3051A is proposed for the quantification of 42 elements in sediments by inductively coupled plasma techniques associated with optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). A combination of different acids and microwave-assisted acid extraction following hot plate extraction was tested. Evaluation of applicability range, linearity, limits of detection and quantification, selectivity, repeatability, intermediate precision, and trueness showed the accurate determination of all elements. Selectivity, precision, and trueness values were below the criteria established by the laboratory. The applicability of the proposed method was tested in real sediment samples. For each element, difference between duplicates was lower than the corresponding repeatability limit, with the coefficients of variation ranging between 1.7 and 14%. These results point to the usefulness of this method in multi-element determination of major, minor, trace, and REE in sediment samples, showing its applicability in environmental studies related, namely to sediment characterization, monitoring programs, assessment of environmental impacts, sediment provenance, and post-depositional mechanisms.




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