Using Hemp to Extract Heavy Metals

Using Hemp to Extract Heavy Metals

Scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) are researching how hemp can naturally clean contaminated soil.  This natural process is known as “phytoremediation”.  It involves using living plants, in this case hemp, to detoxify the soil through natural, biological, chemical or physical activities and processes of the plant.  The CSU scientists say there are many reasons hemp has outstanding phytoremediation potential:

  • It is a tenacious plant that grows just about anywhere.
  • It is highly effective at extracting nutrients from the soil and converting them into potentially useful products.
  • It has an unusually deep and extensive root structure.
  • It is naturally resistant to insect predators, eliminating the need for pesticides.

Thanks to a change in the political climate, research opportunities for hemp have expanded.  The researchers plan on publishing their results this summer.

Are YOU Exposed to LEAD at Work?

Some workers have a higher risk of exposure to lead while at their job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that around 804,000 general industry workers and an additional 838,000 construction workers are potentially exposed to lead. These workers come in to contact with the toxic heavy metal through its production, use, maintenance, recycling, and disposal.  Lead exposure occurs in most industry sectors including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, remediation, and even recreation.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have compiled an informative list of jobs that are more likely to come in to contact with lead. This list includes:

  • Artists (materials used may contain lead)
  • Auto repairers (car parts may contain lead)
  • Battery manufacturers (batteries contain lead)
  • Bridge reconstruction workers (old paint may contain lead)
  • Construction workers (materials used may include lead)
  • Firing range instructors and gunsmiths (ammunition contains lead)
  • Glass manufacturers (lead may be used in glass production)
  • Lead manufacturers
  • Lead miners
  • Lead refiners
  • Lead smelters
  • Manufacturers of bullets, ceramics, and electrical components (all contain lead)
  • Painters (old paint and commercial paint may contain lead)
  • Plastic manufacturers (materials made may contain lead)
  • Plumbers and pipe fitters (pipes may contain lead)
  • Police officers (ammunition contains lead)
  • Radiator repairers (radiators may contain lead)
  • Recyclers of metal, electronics, and batteries (may contain lead)
  • Rubber product manufacturers (process contains lead)
  • Shipbuilders (materials used may include lead)
  • Solid waste incinerator operators (waste may contain lead)
  • Steel welder (galvanized steel is coated in part with lead)

Employers are required to protect workers from inorganic lead exposure under OSHA standards.  Click here for more information on lead standard requirements found at OSHA’s official website. If you or someone you know works with lead, please BE SAFE! Protect yourself by using a soap formulated to remove toxic heavy metals, like lead.  USE CLEAN-ALL HEAVY METALS® HAND & BODY SOAP!

Casting Fishing Tackle & Lead Safety

Many fishermen enjoy making their own tackle.  Using a personal melting pot, a fisherman can cast his/her own jigs, sinkers, and lures.  Not only is this practice a hobby, it is also a money saver in the long run.   For most of these hobbyists, the main ingredient used in the melting pot is lead.

BE SAFE:

  • If you’re pregnant, stay away from the work area and refrain from casting your own tackle.
  • Never let children in your work area.
  • Keep your work area clean.
  • Have proper ventilation in your work area.
  • Do not eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke while handling lead.
  • Use gloves & safety glasses.
  • Wear a dust mask with special filters for lead.
  • Wear leather shoes, a long sleeve shirt, and pants to protect against lead splatters and burns.
  • Never let water or moisture come into contact with molten lead.
  • Carefully clean surfaces after completing your molds.
  • Do not sweep dry floors.  Use a shop-vac with a HEPA filter to vacuum floors.
  • Always wash your hands after handling lead.
  • Shower and wash hair after smelting or casting.

When cleaning your work area surfaces and washing your hands, be sure to use soap specifically formulated to remove lead!  Be sure to use CLEAN-ALL® HEAVY METALS HAND & BODY SOAP!

Click here for more details on lead safety for fishermen, care of the Illinois Department of Public Health

Stained Glass & Lead Exposure

Many of our customers are hobbyists who are inadvertently exposed to toxic heavy metals.  People who work with stained glass are one example.

Lead fumes occur during the soldering process.  The higher the temperature on the soldering iron, the more fumes are released.  Lead fumes are also present if you are painting with lead-based paints (especially if airbrushing).   Another method of exposure is when you’re working with old frames.  Lead dust can be created when sawing old frames.  The plaster and fillings around the glass may have absorbed lead over the years, becoming a health hazard.

Safety Tips for Stained Glass Artisans:

  • If you’re pregnant, stay away from working with stained glass until after you have finished breast feeding.
  • Do not allow children in the work area (including your work clothes, supplies, and equipment).
  • Don’t eat or smoke in the work area.
  • Wear protective clothing and eye protection at all times.
  • Wear gloves when soldering or painting.
  • Use a half-face particulate or air-purifying respirator fitted with a dust/fumes filter, both of which capture small particles of lead.
  • When sawing old cames, wet them down before taking apart old lead-light items.  This will lessen the spread of lead dust.  (Alternatively, try cutting with a sharp knife or tin snips)
  • Ensure your workroom is adequately ventilated.
  • Ensure your workroom is easily cleaned .
    • Regularly clean all surfaces in your work area by wet dusting or mopping.
    • Tools and equipment should be cleaned by wet sponging.
    • Clean walls and windows at least monthly.
  • Wash work clothes separately from the family wash.
  • Shower and wash your hair as soon as possible after finishing work (Alternatively, try wearing a shower cap while working).

Wash away lead dust particles by using CLEAN-ALL HEAVY METALS® HAND & BODY SOAP!

HAND & BODY – With a rich lather, wash & scrub hand and body for at least 20 seconds.  Rinse, then repeat.

SURFACES – Apply Clean-All Soap to a brush or wet cloth.  Thoroughly scrub area, then rinse several times with clean water.

LAUNDRY – Add ¼ to ½ cup Clean-All Soap to contaminated laundry along with regular detergent.  Adding a second rinse cycle is best.

LEVITATING DROPLETS OF WATER TO DETECT HEAVY METALS

Scientists in Mexico have discovered how to detect heavy metals in water by using sound waves to levitate and analyze droplets in mid air. Isolating the droplet by this method allows the water to evaporate in a controlled position, which increases the mass concentration of contaminants.  This also makes it easier to perform a laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to analyze and detect low concentrations of heavy metals such as lead and mercury.

What is special about this technique is that it could lead to instruments which could perform this analysis in real-time, as an on-site contaminant monitoring system.  By speeding up the detection process it could prevent future pollutant dilemmas, such as the Flint, Michigan water crisis.

According to research team leader Victor Contreras “This type of water analysis could be used by agricultural, pharmaceutical, water purification and other industries to monitor water for contaminants.”

FDA PROTECTING US FROM TOXIC METALS IN OUR FOOD

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released an interview with Conrad Choiniere, the chair of the Toxic Elements Working Group.  This workgroup of food safety experts was established about a year ago with the purpose of helping to shape what the FDA will do to protect consumers from toxic metals found in foods.  These metals enter our food supply naturally, through environmental pollutants in the air, water, and soil.  Once in the soil or water, the metals are absorbed into plants, which are then eaten by people or by animals that enter the food supply.  The workgroup is focusing first on lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, specifically in children’s foods since they are the most vulnerable.

A massive amount of data on contaminants and nutrients in foods is collected and analyzed as part of the group’s “Total Diet Study”.  If a food is identified with relatively high levels of a heavy metal, the group looks into how those levels can be reduced and informing consumers how to protect themselves.

“Once we zero in on the problem, we can offer remedies.”

Currently, the Toxic Elements Working Group is creating a “draft guidance that sets an action-level for the presence of inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereals and apple juice.”

CDC Instructions on How to Properly Wash Your Hands

It may seem like an everyday activity which needs no explanation, but how does your usual hand washing practice compare to the recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?

HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS (AS PER THE CDC):

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.  Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.  Need a timer?  Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If soap and clean water is not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  It’s important to note that sanitizers do NOT eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals.

This hand washing demonstration will show you how hand washing can get rid of germs and chemicals that get on our hands every day.

Fight Germs. Wash Your Hands!

And if you’re in contact with heavy metals, be sure to use a soap specifically formulated to remove the toxic residue.  BE SAFE!  USE CLEAN-ALL HEAVY METALS® HAND & BODY SOAP!

PEAT MOSS USED TO FILTER OUT HEAVY METALS

Yet another new procedure is being reported to combat heavy metal polluted water. A northern Minnesota company is touting a pollution-fighting peat!  American Peat Technology processes enormous amounts of peat from the bed of an ancient lake in Aitkin, Minnesota.  The peat has been decomposing for thousands of years and has the natural ability to extract toxic heavy metals from water.  After chemical and thermal treatment, the pollutants are transformed into hardened granules to be removed.  Click here for more information and to learn how APT can help remove metals from your waste water.

Treating Toxic Wastewater with Seaweed?

Wastewater containing toxic heavy metals & industrial dyes is a serious environmental dilemma.  Scientists in India have developed a nanomaterial drawn from seaweed to effectively treat toxic wastewater. Membrane-based filtration generally can’t filter out heavy metal pollutants, but researchers have synthesized a carbon based nanocomposite derived from seaweed which has shown a strong absorption capacity for various cationic and anionic dyes as well as lead and chromium.  With seaweed being used as the starting material, this carbon-based cleaning process is fully “green” without the use of chemicals.

LEAD EXPOSURE AT FIRING RANGES AND YOUR SAFETY

Exposure to lead dust and fumes at the firing range can present a potential health risk to shooters, firearm instructors, other range employees and their families.  There are many ways you may be exposed to lead dust while shooting:

  • Exploding primers containing lead styphnate & the friction from the lead slug against the gun barrel create airborne lead.
  • Spent bullets and settled dust can contaminate both indoor & outdoor ranges.
  • Slugs hitting the bullet trap, walls, floors or ceiling of the range create lead dust.
  • The process of removing spent bullets or the face of earthen bullet trap backstops can generate large quantities of lead dust.
  • Airborne lead dust can concentrate in outdoor ranges, depending on weather conditions.
  • Lead dust can collect on clothes during the day.  When those clothes are worn home, the lead can contaminate shooters’ cars and homes.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  • Make sure the range is correctly ventilated.
  • Keep the bullet loading area clean.
  • At the range, wash hands & face before eating, drinking, or smoking.
  • Wash hands & face before leaving the range
  • Wash range clothes separately from the rest of the family’s clothes.

Simply washing with ordinary soap & water will not significantly reduce the spread of contamination or the danger of ingestion.  So BE SAFE by using CLEAN-ALL HEAVY METALS HAND & BODY SOAP!  The latest in soap technology, formulated to bond with lead residue so it simply rinses away.  It is also an effective way to keep surfaces and laundry clean & safe.