Last year, I stuck my hand in super-cold liquid nitrogen for the amusement of PopSci readers. My skin survived that demonstration, but I wimped out on a related experiment at the opposite extreme: dipping my finger into molten lead. That’s because the only time I’ve ever burned myself badly enough to need a doctor was while casting a lead plaque as a kid.
Among the most strictly enforced consumer-protection laws are those banning lead in toys. Lead is an insidious poison: It’s slow-acting and results not in immediately noticeable effects like rashes but in behavioral problems and a slightly lowered IQ. Even a very small amount of it is harmful. Yet a few decades ago, a lot of the most popular playthings were made from solid lead, including tin soldiers.
About 230 years ago, molten lead that rained from the sky—historically something to avoid at all costs—became a clever new way to manufacture an important commodity: shotgun ammo.
Precisely round pellets fly straighter, but casting each in its own 1/8-inch mold isn't exactly mass production. In space, making them would be easy. In zero gravity, surface tension pulls any liquid into a sphere, the shape with the least surface area for a given volume.
Artificial surfaces are under investigation after unexpectedly high levels of lead contamination were found in two fields in New Jersey
By Brett ZardaPosted 04.21.2008 at 3:52 pm 2 Comments
For years we've known not to play with peeled paint chips; now, we know not to eat the turf. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced an investigation potential hazardous levels of lead in artificial turf fields across the country.
Two fields in New Jersey were closed this week after elevated levels of lead were found during an unrelated investigation. The source is likely from lead chromate that is used as pigment and to prevent fading. While the lead could become airborne through wear on the surfaces, further studies are necessary to assess the actual risk.
A cheap and small detector could make lead poisoning a thing of the past
By Gregory MonePosted 02.12.2008 at 5:07 pm 0 Comments
Scientists at the Department of Energys Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a fast, portable lab that can detect toxic levels of lead and other heavy metals in samples of blood, urine or even saliva. The battery-powered device, which is about the size of a fishing tackle box, should reportedly cost just a tenth of todays bulkier systems. And its fast: Instead of sending samples off to a lab, and waiting for the results, everything can be done on-site. After a simple finger prick, results follow within two to five minutes.