Elemental Impurities Analysis

The elemental impurities in drugs are trace metals that can be found in final products, which may be harmful and must be controlled in the production process. The limits of drug elemental impurities are determined by the regulatory agencies of the corresponding countries/regions, such as the USP, ICH, Ph. Eur., ChP and JP. The sources of elemental impurities include raw materials, production process, packaging and container sealing system (CCS). They can interfere with the efficacy of drugs or have a direct toxic effect on patients. Therefore, the elemental impurities analysis of drugs is very important for drug quality control.

Elemental Impurities Analysis

CD Formulation laboratory is cGMP-compliant and equipped with state of the art analytical instruments. We have experienced analysis experts who can work with our formulation and manufacturing team to provide you with drug elemental impurities analysis services. Our elemental impurities analysis is performed in accordance with pharmacopeia methods to give you reliable, independent data, which can help you to make an appropriate risk assessment for your final drug products. In addition, we are also able to develop and validate tailored methods of elemental impurities analysis that will meet your specific needs.

Permitted Daily Exposures (PDE) for Elemental Impurities

A total of twenty-four elemental impurities are listed in the ICH Q3D guideline. The PDE limits are shown in the table below:

Element Cd Pb As Hg Co V Ni Tl Au Pd Ir Os Rh Ru Se Ag Pt Li Sb Ba Mo Cu Sn Cr
Class 1 1 1 1 2A 2A 2A 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Oral PDE (µg/day) 5 5 15 30 50 100 200 8 100 100 100 100 100 100 150 150 100 550 1200 1400 3000 3000 6000 11000
Parenteral PDE (µg/day) 2 5 15 3 5 10 20 8 100 10 10 10 10 10 80 10 10 250 90 700 1500 300 600 1100
Inhalation PDE (µg/day) 2 5 2 1 3 1 5 8 1 1 1 1 1 1 130 7 1 25 20 300 10 30 60 3

Our Methods of Elemental Impurities Analysis  

  • Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES)
  • Ion Chromatography (IC)
  • Flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (FLAA)
  • X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)
  • Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS)
  • Atomic Emission Spectrometry (AES)


  • Data analysis
  • Provide full study report

Our Advantages

Elemental Impurities Analysis

How to Contact Us?

If you have a requirement about elemental impurities analysis services, please contact us by phone or email, our colleagues will reply to you within three working days.


  1. Fischer L, Zipfel B, Koellensperger G, et al. Flow Injection Combined with ICP-MS for Accurate High Throughput Analysis of Elemental Impurities in Pharmaceutical Products According to USP< 232>/< 233[J]. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 2014, 95: 121-129.
  2. Balaram V. Recent Advances in the Determination of Elemental Impurities in Pharmaceuticals-Status, Challenges and Moving Frontiers[J]. Trac Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 80: 83-95.
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