Heavy Metals update for the week of July 15

The week of July 15th has been relatively quiet compared to the previous weeks for the XRF Group. On Monday and Tuesday, Barb and Dr. Miller wrapped up the XRF scanning, especially concentrating on children’s toys and jewelry. Barbs was able to do a preliminary survey of the jewelry before the (rented) instrument had to be shipped back to the supplier on Wednesday.

The small sample set of children’s metal jewelry showed a surprising amount of heavy metals, especially lead. Lead contained in metal charms on a bracelet, for example, could be swallowed by a child. Barb will look further into the regulations placed on children’s jewelry for her final report. Also, more than 100 old plastic toys were analyzed, such as Fisher Price Little People, and many of these showed high levels of lead and cadmium.

The other students, Zoe, Kialee, and I, organized and reformatted the spreadsheets of the data collected, arranging all the information into different categories. For example, we looked for correlation of heavy metal contamination with date of manufacture or with color. In addition, each of us have been preparing to write our final reports by examining the spectral peaks collected from each sample to reconfirm the presence of the heavy metals.

-Alex Ducray


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