Lanthanum (La) is a transition metal which oxidizes easily in air to lanthanum(III) oxide. This oxide, as well as salts resulting from its dissolution in acid and recrystallization, is a component of different catalysts. Here, a lanthanum(III) acetate solution prepared by dissolution of lanthanum(III) oxide in acetic acid, has to be tested for a sodium contamination. The high concentration of La3+ is complexed by the dipicolinic acid in the eluent and forms anionic complexes. These complexes are eluted in the front and therefore do not interfere with the sodium impurity as well as other cations such as ammonium and calcium.