The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, has studied the effects of surfactants on sample transport and nebulization, during analysis by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Six surfactants were added to standards and samples in which Mn, Fe, and Cu were determined. Signal stability was measured by calculating the coefficient of variation for the analytes using each surfactant. A crossflow nebulizer and a high-dissolved solids nebulizer were used to help determine the impact of each surfactant on the results of analysis. The flow of liquid through the spray chamber in combination with the different surfactants was studied to illustrate subtle contributors to sample transport efficiency. Detection limits were calculated for each of the three analytes to determine the effects of surfactant on sensitivity.