Teledyne Leeman Labs Blog

Betsey Seibel

Recent Posts

Used Coffee Grounds Can Save Polluted Water

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Sep 13, 2018 3:05:41 PM

For many cappuccino and latte lovers, the ideal coffee coupling consists of a warm microfoam meticulously mingled with a favorite coffee.  And, a seemingly magical dose of microfoam is at the crux of latte art for coffee aficionados. But, can foam and coffee work together to remedy water pollution problems? A new study reveals how coffee and foam can function in concert to divorce destructive chemicals, such as mercury, from polluted water.

The study, published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, explained how researchers from the American Chemical Society used spent coffee grounds and bioelastomeric foam to remediate water. The foam, infused with expended coffee grounds, performed as a filter.  Water is deemed remediated when pollutants are eliminated so it is safely consumable for people to drink.

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Tags: mercury analysis, Combustion

New Elements Have Names

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Aug 17, 2018 3:18:54 PM

To the disdain of high school chemistry students everywhere, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry recognized four new elements, which completed the seventh row on the periodic table. Earlier this year, the four elements formerly known as atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 were given names, nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og), respectively. The honor of naming the elements was given to the discoverers. A public review of the names expired on November 8, 2015.

Among the guidelines given to the discoverers for the elements’ names included the tradition of naming them after a mythological concept or character, a mineral or similar substance, a place or geographical region, a property of the element or a scientist. The names also had to end in "-ium," "-ine," or "-on" depending on the grouping of elements they belong.

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Tags: Periodic Table

Global Study Finds Mercury Threatening Women and Unborn Children

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Jul 3, 2018 8:38:54 AM

Nearly 1,050 women from 37 locations across 25 countries were the subjects of a recent report, Mercury in Women of Childbearing Age in 25 Countries, which measured mercury levels in their hair samples. The study found significantly elevated mercury concentrations in the hair of women in numerous regions of the world. The high levels of mercury were caused by three main sources of mercury pollution: coal- fired power plants (one of the main sources globally that contaminate oceans with mercury that accumulates in fish), artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and local contaminated sites from various industries releasing mercury to soil, water and air.

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Tags: mercury analysis

Are there Consequences of Eating a Gluten-free Diet?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Mar 14, 2018 1:53:39 PM

A report published in the journal Epidemiology suggested that people who eat a gluten-free diet might be at risk of increased exposure to arsenic and mercury. While people with celiac disease are advised to eat a diet that is free of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the number of people eating gluten-free diets has increased significantly the past several years. More than a quarter of Americans in 2015 claimed to be eating a gluten-free diet, an increase of 67 percent from 2013. Many gluten-free products use rice flour as a substitute for wheat. Rice is known to accumulate toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury from fertilizers, soil and water.

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Tags: mercury analysis

Using Pine Needles to Monitor Mercury Contamination

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Feb 1, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Scientists are increasingly using trees for biomonitoring mercury and other atmospheric pollutants. Leaves from a variety of species have been widely used for measuring mercury pollution, but when it comes to pine, only the pine bark has been used. Scientist have started to study a strip of pine trees adjacent to Almadén in south central Spain, where the largest cinnabar deposits in the world have been mined for more than 2,000 years to obtain metallic mercury. The scientists are specifically collecting pine tree needles from sites adjacent to the mining strip in order to evaluate the needles as monitors of mercury contamination. For the study, published in October 2017 in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, scientist also gathered leaves, needles and soil from other locations to monitor mercury contamination in the area during the night and day.


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Tags: mercury analysis

Coffee Grounds as Filters for Mercury and Lead

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Jan 23, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Coffee.jpgResearchers have turned coffee grounds into a spongy filter that absorbs heavy metals from water. The filter, which was described in the September 2016 issue of the American Chemical Society's journal Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, is composed of 60 wt % of spent coffee powder and 40 wt percent of silicone elastomer using the sugar leaching technique. The researchers found that by adding sugar and silicone to the coffee, they were able to create a foamy brick that when soaked in water would leach out the sugar, leaving the coffee grounds to bind to metal in the water.


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Tags: mercury analysis

Where and How the Elements of the Periodic Table are Made

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Jan 18, 2018 1:48:02 PM

Periodic_Table.jpgQuartz magazine recently listed its most underrated scientific breakthroughs of 2017. In addition to a pill that treats mental illness with built-in data tracking, floating wind farms, the oldest ice core ever drilled out of Antarctica and the emergence of lab made clothing, was an interesting tidbit about scientists watching two neutron stars collide for the first time. The discovery, by scientists from Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), suggests that we are all made of elements created in stars.

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Tags: Periodic Table

Determining Mercury in Kerosene

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Oct 26, 2017 1:07:53 PM

Teledyne Leeman Labs completed a study using its Hydra IIC mercury analyzer in Volatile Hydrocarbon (VHC) mode to determine the total mercury in kerosene. We published a technical note that demonstrates the capabilities of the Hydra IIC to determine the level of mercury by direct combustion of the kerosene. The system was also configured with an enhanced moisture control system.


The Hydra IIC is an independent standalone analyzer that uses Cold Vapor Atomic Absorbance (CVAA) spectroscopy to obtain reliable quantitative data from simple to complex matrices by direct combustion combined with a proprietary catalyst to remove interfering compounds such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides. The biggest advantage of the Hydra IIC is that no sample preparation is required before analysis. And, because no sample preparation is required; the cost and hassle of dealing with waste disposal is avoided.


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Tags: CVAA, mercury analysis, kerosene

Reptiles are Ideal Indicators of Mercury Contamination

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Aug 30, 2017 9:39:06 AM

Despite its remote location, the Amazonian basin is not immune to mercury contamination. A new study published in the Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry found the presence of mercury in two species of turtles and two species of caiman. The concentration of the mercury was below World Health Organization consumption guidelines, but the mercury levels in the liver were higher than recommended for children and pregnant women.

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Tags: mercury

Everything You Wanted to Know about Olive Oil

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Aug 29, 2017 10:45:23 AM

The American Chemistry Society recently took a look at the chemistry of olive oil in a recent episode of its YouTube show, Reactions.


The debate about whether olive oil is healthy continues, but there is a lot of chemistry that goes on to produce a bottle.


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Tags: ICP-OES, Edible Oils