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Ancient Analysis

February 16, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 7

Important Notice

National Meeting Program Moves Online

ACS national meeting and exposition preliminary and final technical programs will no longer be printed in their entirety in C&EN. They will now be available on the ACS website. The full ACS governance committee agendas, the ACS division technical program summary grids, and the full technical program, which have traditionally appeared in C&EN, will be online only. For the upcoming meeting in Salt Lake City, all program information is online at

This initiative is in accordance with the society's goals of environmental and financial sustainability. Paper will be saved, as will postage and production expenses. Because there will be no lead time required for printing and mailing, national meeting program material will be available earlier than ever before.

Specifically, committee information is available at To access the division technical program summary grids and the online technical program, visit and select the "Technical Program" link on the left navigation.

C&EN will print essential information in a preliminary program approximately eight weeks before each national meeting. For the meeting in Salt Lake City, this appeared in the Jan. 26 issue. Additional information will appear in the issue of C&EN that is published approximately four weeks prior to the meeting. For the Salt Lake City meeting, this information will appear on March 2.

The technical program will be available online by Feb. 23, one week earlier than in the past. Links to the program will appear in a box in both the online and print versions of C&EN, as well as on the front page of We encourage divisions to link to the meeting program from their websites. The entire technical program will be available in searchable PDF format on C&EN Online on March 2.

As always, the on-site meeting program book will be distributed in Salt Lake City.

Please direct any questions to Denise Creech at

I WAS MORE than surprised to read in the article "Improving Metal Detection in Drugs" that the pharmaceutical industry still uses a century-old method of qualitative analysis for determining metals in ingredients and products (C&EN, Dec. 8, 2008, page 32).

Although it dates me, I admit that I probably have not done this test in the 50 years since my days as a college freshman. Most of us analytical chemists long ago gave up our test tubes for modern instrumental methods of metal analysis such as AAS or ICP-AES mentioned in the article. Apparently, the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) is just getting around to using these atomic spectroscopic techniques, which have been in wide use in academia and industry for decades.

ASTM International has published about 30 standard test methods using these techniques for analysis of petroleum products, coal and coke, metallurgical products, nuclear materials, and environmental samples. An additional 15 methods using ICP-MS have been issued. The Environmental Protection Agency uses these methods routinely to check for trace metals in wastewater.

It was astounding to read the comments from some in the pharmaceutical industry still resisting the use of these modern techniques to replace century-old wet chemistry techniques. I suppose the good news is that if USP implements these changes in the analytical methodology, we analytical atomic spectroscopists will have a brand-new employment opportunity, and the instrument vendors will be able to sell more of their instruments to the pharmaceutical industry labs.

Kishore Nadkarni
Chairman, ASTM D02.SC 3 on Elemental Analysis
East Brunswick, N.J.


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