In recent years increased information is required about the distribution of elements at low concentration levels in the biosphere.
Neutron activation analysis can play an important role if it can supply many data at relatively low cost. As some of the concentrations
are too low for determination by non-destructive techniques, equipment for chemical separations on a routine basis is necessary.
For environmental studies a separation scheme has been developed successfully for arsenic, antimony, cadmium, copper, mercury,
selenium and zinc. It is based on a combination of distillation and ion-exchange. Special attention is paid to the prevention
of interference from bromine and sodium. Additional information about chromium, cobalt, nickel and tungsten can easily be
obtained. Experience gathered with an automated instrument for fifty samples a week is described.