Mercury, Urine

Abbrev Code:UMERC   
Order Code:LAB3841Order Name:Mercury Urine
Methodology:Inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry
CPT Codes: 83825 x1
Turnaround Time:Specimens are sent to the reference laboratory Mon-Sat; results are reported within 1-5 days.
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Urine Collection Procedure

Collection Instructions

Specimen:Urine, 24 hour or random collection
Optimal Volume:Submit entire 24 hour collection; analysis requires 1 mL. Record total volume and collection time on transport tube.
Container:3 L plastic jug
Alternate Containers: Plastic leakproof container, sterile
Collection Instructions:Specimen should be refrigerated during collection. ARUP studies indicate that refrigeration of urine alone, during and after collection, preserves specimens adequately, if tested within 14 days of collection.
Patient Preparation:Diet, medication and nutritional supplements may introduce interfering substances. Patients should be encouraged to discontinue nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals, nonessential over-the-counter medications (upon the advice of their physician) and avoid shellfish and seafood for 48 to 72 hours. High concentrations of iodine may interfere with elemental testing.
Collection of urine specimens from patients receiving iodinated or gadolinium-based contrast media should be avoided for a minimum of 72 hours post-exposure. Collection from patients with impaired kidney function should be avoided for a minimum of 14 days post-contrast media exposure.
Causes for Rejection:Urine collected within 72 hours after administration of a gadolinium (Gd) containing contrast media (may occur with MRI studies), acid preserved urine, samples not aliquoted into ARUP metal-free plastic vials.

Processing and Shipping

Specimen Processing:Mix collection well before aliquot is taken. Aliquot 8 mL, 1 mL minimum into 2 ARUP blue top metal free plastic vials. Regular aliquot tubes will be rejected. Record total volume and collection duration on transport tube and request form. Store in refrigerator.
Shipping Instructions:Ship at refrigerated temperature.
Stability:1 week room temperature; 2 weeks refrigerated; 1 year frozen.
Test Performed at or Referral Lab Lab Sendouts  (ARUP)
Referral Lab number:25050


Reference Range:
Mercury, Urine (per 24 hours) 0.0-20.0 µg/d
Mercury, Urine (per volume) 0.0-5.0 µg/L
Mercury, Urine (ratio to CRT) 0.0-20.0 µg/gCRT

In its elemental form, mercury is poorly absorbed and therefore not as toxic. Interpretation of mercury levels is complicated by the wide ranges found in supposedly healthy populations. Fish consumption varies mercury levels, but does not generally result in detectable toxicity. Dental amalgams, which also add to the mercury burden, do not pose a danger for most dental patients or dental personnel who practice good safety procedures.


Mercury toxicity most frequently results from self-inflicted poisoning, accidents or chronic workplace exposure. Industrial uses of mercury include electrolysis, electrical switches and fungicides. Mercury binds avidly to proteins and produces either direct toxicity (e.g. renal tubular damage, myelin damage) or renders proteins immunogenic with resulting sensitization.


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