• The most sensitive water analysis in the US

    Test 71 of 76 elements that may appear in water at New York University

water, made transparent

While the H2O chemical formula of water reveals that pure water consists of hydrogen and oxygen only, in reality a large variety of elements contribute to what we know as water – up to 76, to be accurate.

Considering that US law regulates only 19 of these elements, it seems clear that something is overlooked. For example, while lithium is known to be toxic to embryos and life threatening in high doses, there is no data available on what concentration in drinking water should be classified as dangerous.

That’s where stoichy comes into play: We not only can tell you whether your water has a lithium in it, but also highlight dangerous amounts and health effects.

Check our dynamic water map to view results from a range of locations and water types, read up about your zip code, compare your values to the neighborhood, throughout the US and the whole world.



Our goal in testing water is to contribute to your individual water safety. Using state-of-the art technology, stoichy tests almost all elements and emphasizes detection limits that are significantly lower than elsewhere.



Like others, stoichy uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). What differentiates our mass spectrometer is the size of the detector. It is large enough to detect 71 relevant elements from lithium to uranium simultaneously, providing a maximum range of highly sensitive results in a short time and at low cost.



Stoichy is a nonprofit project started at New York University. As a part of our Metabolic Ecology Project, our goal is to generate fingerprints of the elemental composition of waters from different regions in order to correlate these fingerprints to geological, ecological and physiological properties.



People worldwide spend more than $100 billion dollars on bottled water each year, most in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration holds bottled water to Environmental Protection Agency standards only, which means that most bottled waters are unlikely to be very different from most municipal tap waters. While municipal waters must be held accountable for poor management, on the whole, there isn’t much difference between tap and bottled water. If we were to put the average tap water against the chart of bottled waters in our study, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

check the map and get your results

Click for results

* Example: 55.9485947,-3.1999134999999796 or 55°56'54.9409"N, 003°11'59.6886"W
there’s much more than tap

In short, each of us is an elemental accumulation of things we drink and eat, and most things we eat have been in contact with water.

For example, fish are directly exposed to and affected by the waters they are living in, and take in pollutants through water such as mercury and other heavy metals. If you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you might want to know how much cadmium from car exhaust ends up on your soil and crops via rain or snow. Even the cap type and color of your bottled water may influence quality.

This is why stoichy developed a model system by which the distributions and concentrations of elements across the breadth of the periodic table may be determined for any water-based sample in seconds. We can test for tap, stream, river, pond, pool, lake, sea, or ocean water from rain, sleet and snow.

  • Jon Doe,
    New York City

    “My Kids love to catch snowflakes, play and tussle in snow and I always encouraged them. Of course I told them to not eat the yellow snow. In January I met Melanie. She explained to me that she is interested in what elements she might find in snow and that she would get back to me. Two weeks later she told me that this bright, fresh, white snow my kids played in contains significant amounts of lead, cadmium and palladium. I am glad that I found out that it is not only the yellow snow in New York that my kids shouldn’t eat.”
  • One of the guilty cups

    “My doctor said I was too young to have numbness in my fingers and toes. I feared diabetic neuropathy and had my blood tested, but instead found two unanticipated causes of my symptoms. One was excess vitamin B6 from taking a B-complex supplement. The second was lead at 50% over the highest normal blood levels. My doctor would not consider treatment unless I found the source. So we analyzed water from two coffee cups I had at home and work. One gave three times the allowed EPA maximum lead concentration! I'm better now.”
water means up to 76 elements

Forget about H2O only. Naturally occurring elements in drinking water include calcium, magnesium and sodium. Depending on their concentrations, the presence of arsenic, lead or uranium can indicate contamination. Ground water too can contain minerals and rock elements or carry residues of anthropogenic activities.

Therefore, we focus on detecting dangerous levels of inorganic elements like lead — which is a good example: The common lead detection limit is 20 µg/l, which is much higher than the critical maximum concentration stated at 10 µg/l.

Stoichy measures values as low as 0.007 µg/l. Our findings will lead to a better understanding of health and environmental issues.

Primary maximum concentration limit allowed by EPA, which are established to protect the public against consumption of drinking water contaminants that present a risk to human health. An MCL is the maximum allowable amount of a contaminant in drinking water which is delivered to the consumer.

Secondary maximum concentration limit allowed by EPA, are established only as guidelines to assist public water systems in managing their drinking water for aesthetic considerations, such as taste, color, and odor. These contaminants are not considered to present a risk to human health.

See full table of elements
Earth alkalines
Other metals
Transition metals
you’re part of the metabolic ecology

By the evaluation of water we come to understand something we call the “metabolic ecology” of a place in addition to relationships between elements, health and behavior presently unidentified because no one ever looked. Our pilot work is around a small ecosystem at Lake Chilwa in Malawi.

At New York University, we examine the links between water testing results and other medical or environmental samples, ranging from fossilized snail shells to red wine. We’re working on new conclusions and connections on the relationship between your household water and your saliva and blood serum. We will also learn more about the world our ancestors were living in, giving us an expanded picture of how human life evolved.

bromage-e1463065158334 blau II


Tim directs a research unit at NYU that emphasizes the relationship between microscopic features in bone and tooth tissues to environmental variability. In addition, he recently discovered a hitherto unrecognized biological rhythm that reveals how metabolism generates life stages of mammals, like age or lifespan. Tim supplements laboratory research with paleontological fieldwork, reconstructing continental scale environmental change.



Melanie is a post-doc research fellow at NYU and established the methods to quantitatively assess all elements from 6Li to 238U in fluids and solids using simultaneous ICP-MS — the technology stoichy uses. Her scientific background is in biology, with an emphasis on physiology, microbiology and biochemistry. Melanie has gained field experience in both temperate and arctic areas and has expertise in ecological stoichiometry and metabolic ecology.



Tina holds a PhD in geoscience and has expertise in geochemistry with a focus on stable and clumped isotope mass spectrometry. She is a researcher at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Frankfurt, Germany, where she reconstructs paleo-ecological interactions between environmental patterns and mammalian biochemistry. Tina’s work emphasizes early hominin evolution in Africa, Indonesia, Georgia, China and the US.



Melanie is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. She is a biological anthropologist specializing in human osteology, bio-archeaology, stable isotope geochemistry and paleo-environmental reconstruction of East Africa. In addition, Melanie is an avid national park traveler and collects environmental water samples during her road trips.


New York University
College of Dentistry
Hard Tissue Research Unit
Dep’t of Biomaterials & Biomimetics
345 East 24th Street
New York, NY 10010-4086