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Evidence of recycling of lead battery waste into highly leaded jewelry

TitleEvidence of recycling of lead battery waste into highly leaded jewelry
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWeidenhamer JD, Clement ML
Journal TitleChemosphere
Keywords', children, Jewelry, lead, Lead-acid battery waste, Neurotoxicity, s health
AbstractInexpensive highly leaded jewelry, much of it imported from China, remains widely available in the United States. The source materials for these items are unknown. Due to the low cost of much of this trinket jewelry, it seems likely that scrap materials may be used in their manufacture. Thirty-nine jewelry items previously determined to contain 90% or more lead by weight were analyzed for antimony content. The average antimony content of these thirty-nine items was 3.0%. The range of antimony content in the samples was from 0.3% to 6.2% antimony by weight, with twenty-seven of the samples in the range of 2-4% antimony by weight. By comparison, battery lead standard reference material obtained from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology contains 2.95% antimony by weight. While the evidence is circumstantial, the similarity in composition of these samples to battery lead is striking and supports the hypothesis that some battery lead is being recycled into highly leaded jewelry items. These results suggest that the recycling of this waste in China needs to be investigated, as the use of lead battery waste as a source material for children's jewelry poses a clear threat to children's health.
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