Teledyne Leeman Labs Blog

Citrus Peels and Waste Sulfur Key to New Mercury Absorbing Polymer

Posted by Betsey Seibel on May 17, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Citrus_fruit.jpgA research team at Flinders University in Australia has “developed an inexpensive, non-toxic polymer that can absorb hazardous mercury compounds out of water and soil.” The secret ingredient of the polymer is a colorless liquid hydrocarbon that is extracted from the peel of citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and oranges. The process to extract limonene, which gives citrus fruits their smell, includes centrifugal separation and steam distillation.


According to a paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, limonene is combined with an equal mass of molten sulfur and synthesized to form a sulfur-limonene polysulfide compound. The two-phase mixture becomes a single, dark red phase upon reaction. The mixture turns a bright yellow in the presence of mercury.


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Tags: mercury analysis

Mercury Levels in Precipitation Trending Up Across North America

Posted by Betsey Seibel on May 12, 2016 4:18:10 PM


While mercury levels in rainfall and other forms of precipitation have fallen along the East Coast, other sites in the center of North America are reporting increased levels of the toxic element, pushing overall trends for the continent in a positive direction.

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Tags: mercury analysis

Unregulated Use of Mercury Poisoning Millions of Miners Worldwide

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Jan 11, 2016 4:02:46 PM

A recent feature story from CBCNews details the unregulated use of mercury as part of mining operations across South America. The article includes the story of Brandon Nichols, a University of British Columbia grad student who ventured south to research small-scale gold mining operations in Ecuador. His experience included mercury poisoning “two or three times,” including “serious headaches.”


According to the article, “Mercury is widely used by the miners because it bonds with gold, allowing it be more easily separated from the ore hauled out of countless mines dotting the countryside.”


Nichols recorded hours of video of the mining and processing techniques that used the toxic liquid metal, and questioned whether cleaning the toxic workshops would ever be possible.


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Tags: mercury analysis

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

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

Teledyne Leeman Labs: A Historical Perspective

Posted by Jason Davis on Mar 20, 2015 4:08:59 PM

History of Teledyne Leeman Labs

OldLeemanLabsInclogoIn 1981 John R. Leeman and Karl Hildebrand founded Leeman Labs to produce analytical instrumentation based on the promise of Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES) [also referred to as Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES)] to identify and quantify the concentration of elements within a sample.

PS950ICPOESThis initial success established Leeman Labs as both an innovator and an expert in ICP-OES and lead the company to endeavor into other realms of atomic spectroscopy adding the DC Arc technique and Mercury Analysis to its line of analytical instrumentation.  In 2004 Leeman Labs was acquired by Teledyne technologies to augment Teledyne's existing laboratory and continuous monitoring instruments used in environmental applications, and complement Teledyne Tekmar's organic analysis instrumentation.

Today, its instruments can be found conducting analyses across a broad spectrum of industries and sample types.  The usefulness of Teledyne Leeman Lab’s elemental analysis instrumentation ranges from agriculture to aerospace and forensics to food in over 50 countries.

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Tags: mercury, mercury analysis, ICP-OES, ICP-AES, Leeman Labs

Frequently Asked Questions about EPA Method 245.7

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Sep 19, 2014 4:17:25 PM

We thought it might be helpful for those of you with questions regarding EPA Method 245.7 to create a blog post addressing some of these questions.  If you have any questions regarding EPA 245.7 that we haven't addressed here, please let us know and we will do our best to provide you with the answer.

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Tags: CVAF, Hg analysis, mercury analysis

Humans are Major Cause of Mercury Levels in Ocean Surface Waters

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Aug 19, 2014 4:18:00 PM

A new paper by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Wright State University, Observatoire Midi-Pyréneés in France, and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research found that the ocean contains about “60,000 to 80,000 tons of pollution mercury. In addition, they found that ocean waters shallower than about 100 m (300 feet) have tripled in mercury concentration since the Industrial Revolution and that the ocean as a whole has shown an increase of roughly 10 percent over pre-industrial mercury levels.”[i] The paper, which appears in a recent addition of the journal of Nature “provides the first direct calculation of mercury in the global ocean from pollution based on data from 12 sampling cruises over the past 8 years,” and “a look at the global distribution of mercury in the marine environment.”


While mercury is a naturally occurring element, it is also a by-product of human mining and manufacturing operations, from burning coal to making cement. The researchers set out to better understand how much of the mercury in the ocean is a result of human activity or how much is from natural sources. The group looked at data about oceanic levels of phosphate, and by “determining the ratio of phosphate to mercury in water deeper than 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) that has not been in contact with Earth's atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, the group was able to estimate mercury in the ocean that originated from natural sources such as the breakdown, or ‘weathering,’ of rocks on land.”

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Tags: mercury analysis

Water Quality Considerations for Mercury Analysis (EN17852 /USEPA 245.7)

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Oct 22, 2013 9:51:00 AM

When it comes to mercury analysis using Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry there are two main methods to use - USEPA Method 245.7 and The European Norm EN17852 Water Quality - Determination of Mercury - Method using atomic fluorescence spectrometry (ISO 17852:2006).  

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Tags: mercury analysis, EN17852, USEPA 245.7

A Practical Guide for Selecting the Best Analytical Technique for your Mercury Measurement Needs

Posted by David Pfeil on Apr 19, 2012 8:19:00 AM

As government, the scientific community, environmentalists, medical professionals and the public at large recognize the persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic nature of mercury, there is increasing demand for better control and monitoring of its release to the environment. 

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Tags: mercury analysis, mercury measurement