Teledyne Leeman Labs Blog

Sara Kennedy

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The Simplicity of Direct Mercury Analysis

Posted by Sara Kennedy on May 25, 2022 2:44:08 PM

Direct Analysis by Thermal Decomposition

Direct mercury analysis is a well-established analytical technique for mercury determination used by the academic, biological, clinical, environmental, food, and industrial communities that has been approved by organizations such as the EPA in Method 7473 and the ASTM in Methods D6722 and D7623. This analysis employs the technique of thermal decomposition (sample combustion), mercury concentration via gold amalgamation, and detection by cold vapor atomic absorption. The biggest advantage of direct mercury analysis is no sample preparation or chemical reduction is required. The total mercury is released as a vapor when the sample is combusted. Advantages of thermal decomposition include:

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Tags: thermal decomposition

Small Scale Gold Mining has a Large Impact on Mercury Emissions

Posted by Sara Kennedy on May 18, 2022 3:46:54 PM

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is defined by the Minamata Convention on Mercury as ‘gold mining conducted by individual miners or small enterprises with limited capital investment and production’. This type of mining often uses liquid mercury which forms an amalgam with the gold ore in the soil. The very small particles of gold are dissolved into the mercury to form a dark grey clump. To release the gold from the amalgam, the alloy is melted over a flame, driving the gaseous mercury vapor into the air and leaving behind the extracted gold. It is estimated that ASGM produces up to 20% of the world’s gold and 35% of all mercury pollution into the environment. Gold mining using mercury is detrimental to the health of workers, their environment, and their communities but there are economic and social considerations that limit the implementation of mercury free mining technologies.

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Tags: mercury, mercury measurement, Mining

Mercury in Skin Lightening Creams

Posted by Sara Kennedy on Mar 24, 2022 3:46:33 PM

Mercury is well known to international agencies as toxic and a risk to human health. And yet, mercury is a common ingredient in cosmetic skin whitening creams due to its bleaching effect on skin. Repeated topical application can cause mercury to accumulate in the body as it is easily absorbed through the skin as well as through the lungs by inhalation. Applying these creams repeatedly and for prolonged periods of time can cause numerous adverse health effects. Mercury is still being added as an ingredient despite the known health concerns associated with it.

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Tags: mercury