Environmental pollutant analysis

Laboratory workers.

The Chemical Risks Laboratory at THL studies human exposure to environmental pollutants.

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Information about us and our analytical services

Our analytical services are primarily available for collaborative research projects and, depending on the analysis, also for external clients. Analytical services for single samples are agreed on a case by case basis.

Our analytical methods are suitable for human samples such as serum, breast milk and urine, and for environmental samples, food, consumer products, water, and feed.

Our methods are specifically tailored for situations where standardized methods are not available or suitable. The methods can be accommodated to the needs of research partners, and thus the standard sets of compounds are flexible.

If needed, new methods for toxic environmental pollutants can be developed.

Laboratory equipment and quality assurance

The analytical instrumentation of the laboratory include for example:

  • Gas chromatographs with a triple quadrupol mass spectrometer (GC-MS/MS)
  • High-performance liquid chromatographs coupled to a triple quadrupol mass spectrometer (LC-MS/MS)
  • ASE extraction system

In order to achieve the highest possible accuracy in quantification, isotopically labelled standards are used when available, and the laboratory participates regularly in interlaboratory comparison studies.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has designated the laboratory as the Finnish National Reference Laboratory for Dioxins and PCBs in food (297/2021) and feed (1263/2020). The laboratory is in accordance with requirements of Regulation 2017/625.

Most of the methods are accredited by the Finnish national accreditation body FINAS (SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005, laboratory T077) and the same level of quality control is applied to other analyses as well.

Compounds analyzed

Sampling instructions

Avoid all skin contact with the sample due to contamination risk.

Select the material of the sample container carefully, in order to not cause contamination of the sample. Upon request, suitable sample containers for all analyses will be provided by THL.

Water samples: If a preservative has been added to the container beforehand, do not rinse the container prior to sampling. Instead, fill the container to the top and close. If a preservative has not been added, the container is first rinsed with sample water. If water samples must be frozen prior to shipment, don’t fill them to the top so that the water has room to expand. Don't freeze water samples in glass bottles.

Send the samples to the laboratory as soon as possible after sampling.

Consult the method-specific instructions for sampling, sample storage and dispatch given in their respective pages:
Compounds analyzed


Samples should be well organized, clearly labeled, and carefully packaged.

Perishable samples such as fish and other tissue samples should be sent in eg. cooler boxes, well packaged and frozen.

The delivery should be quick not to allow melting of the sample, preferably during one business day.

The work order form should be filled in carefully and included in the shipment of samples. Several samples can be sent with the same work order, if the analyses are same for all samples.

An itemized sample list should be provided along with the work order if needed.

Work order for environmental pollutant analyses (PDF 132 KB)

Dispatch of samples and delivery address

Samples must be delivered to the final address.

Samples should arrive no later than 3.00 pm (Mon-Thu) or noon (Fri).

Please contact the laboratory before shipment of samples:

Päivi Ruokojärvi
senior researcher
029 524 6349
[email protected]

Delivery address:
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)
Environmental Health Unit
Chemical Risks
Neulanen Research Centre
Neulaniementie 4
FI-70210 Kuopio

Contact information

Written requests and contacts

+358 29 524 6349
[email protected]

Other contact information

Päivi Ruokojärvi
chief specialist
+358 29 524 6349
[email protected]

Panu Rantakokko
research manager
+358 29 524 6395
[email protected]

Jani Koponen
senior researcher
+358 29 524 6350
[email protected]

FINAS and ILAC MRA accreditation symbols.

THL's scope of accreditation

The unit is a FINAS accredited testing laboratory T077. It has been accredited according to the standard SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and its scope of accreditation is available on the website of FINAS (Finnish Accreditation Service).

Work order

The work order must be included in the shipment of samples along with an itemized sample list, if needed.

Work order for environmental pollutant analyses (PDF 132 KB)

On our website