The Value of a Pragmatic Approach
It’s not enough for a method to be precise – it has to be practical for routine use.
Cecilia Cagliero |
People typically expect (or assume) that products that come into contact with their bodies (food, cosmetics, and so on) are free from potential health risks. To that end, international organizations study potentially toxic compounds and set limits of acceptability that industries and control organizations have to monitor. However, many foods and cosmetics include complex mixtures of natural products – so toxic compounds are typically present at trace levels, hiding amongst hundreds of other molecules. To detect trace toxins, analytical chemists must pay careful attention to both recovery and separation. Moreover, when developing a method, we must remember that many companies producing food and natural products do not have access to complex and expensive instrumentation – and high throughput (to control production) tops the list of priorities.
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