Timothy A. Hovanec, Ph.D. and Jennifer L. Coshland. 2004.
Abstract: Eight commercially available synthetic sea salts (SSS), Instant Ocean (IO), BioSea Marine Mix (BSMM), Crystal Seas Marine Mix Bioassay (CSMMB), Coralife (CL), Tropic Marin (TM), Reef Crystals (RC), Red Sea (RS) and Oceanic Sea Salt (OSS), and two natural seawater samples Catalina Water Company (CWC) and unfiltered seawater (NSW-M) collected from Malibu State Beach, CA, were analyzed via ICP-MS for eleven trace elements and by ICP-MS/DRC for four other trace elements. The majority of the SSS examined had trace element concentrations at values equal to or below those for natural seawater. The trace elements beryllium, cobalt and copper were below the limit of detection for all samples. Silver and Thallium were detected only in OSS. CSMMB was the only SSS with a detectable level of aluminum (10 ppb) but NSW had the largest amount (20 ppb). Cadmium was detected in only two samples: TM (0.31 ppb) and BSMM (0.24 ppb). Zinc was found in four samples: CWC with the highest value (21 ppb) followed by RS (5 ppb), TM (4.1 ppb) and CL (2.9 ppb). Vanadium was detected in four SSS (TM, RC, OSS and CSMMB) but the levels were lower than NSW at 2.0 ppb. Trace amounts (<1 ppb) of chromium were found in five SSS (IO, RC, OSS, RS, and CSMMB) but a sixth (BSMM) contained 27 ppb. Lead was found in six SSS (TM, OSS, RS, CL, CSMMB and BSMM) at various levels below 2 ppb, however, CWC had concentration of 39 ppb. The remaining trace elements (antimony, manganese, molybdenum and nickel) were detected in all the samples at levels generally at or below that of NSW-M except for one SSS. BSMM had significantly higher concentrations of all these trace elements: (Sb-3.5 ppb; Mn-135 ppb, Mo-87 ppb and Ni-108 ppb) compared to all other samples tested. In terms of the total amount of trace elements detected, three SSS (TM, IO and RC) formed a group with levels below 33 ppb while another three (OSS, RS and CL) had a total concentration near 40 ppb. These two groups of SSS had lower total levels of trace elements than NSW-M and CWC. Of the remaining SSS, CSMMB (58.21 ppb) was higher than NSW-M (44.68 ppb) but lower than CWC (73.78 ppb). The last SSS, BSMM, had a total trace element concentration of over 361 ppb.