Teledyne Leeman Labs Blog

Five Questions to Determine the Right Mercury Analysis Technique

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Nov 19, 2015 12:17:46 PM

Selecting the right mercury analysis technique ultimately depends on your specific analytical needs. For many laboratories, particularly those involved in environmental analysis, the decision will be driven solely by the need to comply with a specific regulatory method.


The regulatory methods include:

  • Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption (CVAAS)
  • Cold Vapor Atomic Fluoresence (CVAFS)
  • Direct Analysis or Thermal Decomposition


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Tags: mercury analysis

Using Teledyne Leeman Labs Prodigy7 ICP-OES for Analysis of Petroleum Samples

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Nov 5, 2015 3:26:27 PM

Since the 1970s, petrochemical labs have used Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) as a key technique to determine a range of elements and concentrations in both aqueous and organic samples. ICP is compatible with a variety of organic solvents, which means it permits the preparation of a broad range of sample types using a simple dilution.


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A new kind of cooking oil - French Fries Cooked in Maggot Oil?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Oct 27, 2015 11:30:50 AM

Could your next batch of French fries be cooked in insect oil? Researchers at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands believe that the search for a protein source to alleviate pressures on the global food supply may have also stumbled across another use for insects: fats and oils. Production of soy, sunflower and palm oil require significant land resources to produce the oil, putting pressure on natural resources and the environment. As companies have worked to isolate the protein in insects, they have been discarding the oils, which researchers believe can be used for both edible and non-edible purposes.

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Tags: Edible Oils

Urban House Dust and Mercury Contamination

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Oct 26, 2015 5:41:06 PM

Soil and dust in homes often become the primary resting places for environmental toxins such as metals and metalloids that come from vehicle traffic and a variety of industrial sources. Residents within urban settings have a higher rate of exposure to contaminated dust from inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact. As a result, dust ingestion is often regarded as the primary source of low-dose mercury in urban children who spend much of their time indoors.


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Tags: Hg analysis

Are Atmospheric Mercury Levels Getting Better?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Sep 28, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Since the 1970s, scientists have analyzed lake sediment and ice cores to understand the levels of historical atmospheric mercury emissions from metal production and industrial activity. Much of the published ice core mercury record has come from a glacier in Wyoming.  While the record has been cited extensively in scientific literature, many modern day scientist argue that it does not truly represent the global trends in atmospheric mercury levels.

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Tags: Hg analysis

Mistake leads to need for Mercury level analysis in river

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Sep 25, 2015 12:53:48 PM

The Animas River is a 125-mile river in the western United States that feeds the Colorado River. On August 5, 2015, a crew from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was pumping out water from the abandoned Gold King Mine in Southern Colorado when heavy equipment used by the workers caused a leak.  

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Tags: Hg analysis

Alloying Elements in High-Carbon Steel

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Aug 13, 2015 1:42:00 PM

Steel is critical to our modern world, with companies producing more than 1.6 billion tons every year[i]. When it comes to high-carbon steel, the higher the carbon content, the harder and stronger the steel is.  As carbon is reduced, the iron becomes more flexible and easier to form. Carbon steel makes up more than 85% of the steel produced in the United States, and while other alloys can be used to change steel properties, such as Manganese and Vanadium, carbon is the most cost-effective alloying material for iron.

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Tags: ICP-OES, Carbon Steel

Why is Lab Safety so Important?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Aug 4, 2015 1:40:27 PM

Recent accidents in industrial laboratories across the country have raised questions about lab safety programs, and whether enough is being done to instill stronger safety cultures. In particular, there are major concerns in these cultures in nonindustrial settings where serious incidents have taken place.

Leaders from the chemical industry published a letter in Chemical & Engineering News expressing their concerns with the “wide gulf in safety cultures,”[i] stating, ““The facts are unequivocal. Occupational Safety & Health Administration statistics demonstrate that researchers are 11 times more likely to get hurt in an academic lab than in an industrial lab. There have been serious accidents in academic labs in recent years—including fatalities—that could have been prevented with the proper use of protective equipment and safer laboratory procedures.”[ii]

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Tags: Laboratory Safety

Lichen: Nature’s Natural Air Pollution Indicator

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Jul 15, 2015 3:26:00 PM

If you’ve never heard of lichen, you’re probably not alone. Lichen is a combination of two organisms,” and “Most of lichen is composed of fungal filaments, but living among the filaments are algal cells, usually from green algae or cyanobacterium.”[i] According to experts, there are more than 1,250 species of lichens in North America. In fact, a scientist from the University of Colorado Boulder discovered two new species in June 2015 while doing research in Boulder.


One of the main reasons that anyone should care about lichens is their ability to absorb trace elements from the environment. Because they are spread out around the world, their ability to absorb elements such as mercury provides a potential model for mercury contamination in a micro-ecosystem modeling system. Lichens are dependent on the atmosphere for their nutrients, making them susceptible to airborne and waterborne pollutants.


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Tags: mercury analysis, Lichen

Mercury Emissions Regulations

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Jul 9, 2015 3:24:13 PM

In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency adopted new emissions standards that were directed at cutting power plant emisions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants. On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the rules with a vote of 5-4 citing the costs of the regulations to power plant operators. The EPA estimated the rules would force companies to spend $9.6 billion a year on compliance while saving Americans between $37 billion and $90 billion a year from premature death and reduced health complications. The decision reverses a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that called mercury emissions a “threat to the public and the environment.”


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Tags: mercury