Hg ICP standard (998 ± 8 mg/l in 10% nitric acid), hydrochloric acid (30%) for trace metal analysis, and nitric acid (65%) for trace metal analysis were obtained from Merck (Darmstadt, Germany). Whatman® 903 protein saver cards for DBS sampling were obtained from Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis, USA). Disposable lancets (Solofix®) from B. Braun (Melsungen, Germany) were used for fingerpricks. LDPE plastic zip lock bags (22 × 16 cm) for DBS storage were obtained from Buerkle (Bad Bellingen, Germany). Borosilicate glass tubes with plastic screw caps (98 × 16 mm) for DBS storage were obtained from Schuett-biotec (Goettingen, Germany). Certified reference materials for blood (ClinChek®, RECIPE, Munich, Germany) from different batches were used for stability experiments (Hg concentration: 2.5 µg/l and 8.4 µg/l) and quality control during the analysis of the participants’ DBS samples (Hg concentration: 2.9 µg/l).

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