For testing the concentration of the dissolved Arsenic in water, there are readymade reagent kits available in science stores. Earlier, we used a test kit made by ORLABS, a Hyderabad based company. This time, we got a NICE chemicals test kit. They both are tests which use mercury bromide papers which represent the concentration of Arsenic on a colour gradient scale but the process, feel and ease of usage of the kits is really different.


The Orlabs kit is packaged in a blue lockable plastic container, with labelled bottles, required apparatus (all plastic), an instruction manual with a shade card. The process is simple and requires the addition of the 2 reagents to 50ml of water. There is no need for heat and the test is complete in 10 minutes. It can be easily carried out in the field.

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The NICE kit on the other hand is made of grey plastic corrugated cardboard, with a lock and handle. The box on the inside has an old school chemistry lab vibe with steel and glass equipment. Most of the apparatus is also very delicate. In fact, a glass pipe broke during the unpacking itself! Reagents are in liquid and powder form and come in glass bottles. The process too, is longer and takes up to 40 minutes and requires a warm water bath.

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The process in the Orlabs kit is much easier to follow and is less complicated and less technical compared to the NICE kit. For using on the field or as a part of a mobile lab, the Orlabs kit is definitely more useful where as the NICE kit is more suitable for a lab or a central testing space. Although both the kits don’t mention what the reagents are, the ORLABS kit has a detailed explanation of the process and reactions, which is definitely a huge plus.

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