Archive for January, 2010

Defective Drywall Update – Strontium Testing

The QSX Application Specialists have been doing some work since the first XRF-Blog post about the potential use of x-ray fluorescence in detecting defective drywall (blog post linked).  We have been working with a few organizations involved in home testing and utilized the Quickshot XRF handheld system to test a few pieces of both acceptable and defective drywall.

Is this defective drywall?

Is this defective drywall?

The initial results were very promising.  In only 5 seconds our analyzer can offer information on Strontium (Sr) content in a piece of drywall with good accuracy.  Our Application Specialists have found its best to run tests at 5 second measurement times and, if those results fall within a specified parts-per-million (ppm) range then do a 20 second test for increased accuracy.

Testing for Strontium levels in drywall with Handheld XRF Analyzers has been reviewed by the CPSC and proven as an effective method of detecting defective drywall.  If levels are under a specified amount then the piece can be considered acceptable.  If, however, the ppm levels exceed that amount then further testing should be performed. 

X-ray fluorescence is popular for a variety of applications because it is a nondestructive test method.  For this reason it is gaining interest for the drywall testing – no need to destroy something that it acceptable.

Contact Quickshot XRF (here) to discuss this new application  and check back as updates are posted.

Cadmium Levels in Childrens Products

There is a new concern for importers, resellers (and of course users of) childrens jewelry…cadmium. 

Regulations on lead content (CPSIA, Proposition-65, etc) in product have increased awareness of the toxic metals negative effects and created a need to substitute lead with another substance.  Unfortunately, a recent report by the Associated Press (AP) states that many Chinese manufacturers of childrens jewelry are replacing lead with cadmium in the manufacturing process. 

Cadmium is no better for children than lead.  In fact, on the Center for Disease Controls list of the 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, Cadmium ranks 7th.  It does not need to be ingested to hinder brain development or cause other health problems in the very young; simply mouthing or sucking on an item containing the toxic metal can lead to development issues.

In the full AP report they note that of 103 products purchased off shelves to test, 12 of them contained over 10% cadmium.  While the lead regulations may have lead to increased amounts of cadmium in product; we have seen both toxic metals present in items since we began testing for hazardous substances.

QSX Instruments will certainly be following any developments and regulatory adjustments that come from this report.  Our Handheld XRF Analyzer with hazardous substance software is popular for lead testing but it can also provide accurate levels of cadmium in childrens jewelry or any other product.