, Volume 192, Issue 2, pp 289-297

Characterization of household plastics for heavy metals using neutron activation analysis

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Highly enriched concentrations of several heavy metals have been found in municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI) ash. In an effort to identify possible sources of these metals in MSWI ash, a variety of disposable household plastic products was examined for heavy metal content. Using both thermal and epithermal neutron activation analysis (NAA) along with Compton suppression techniques, concentrations of several trace and heavy metals including Ag, As, Au, Ba, Br, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Sb, Se, Sn, Sr, V, W and Zn were determined. Results indicate a wide range of concentrations for these elements, with large variations in plastics of similar color and intended use. As limits dealing with heavy metal content of consumer products are lowered, NAA techniques will provide a useful method for verification of product compliance.