Quantitative characterization of the leaching of lead and other elements from glazed surfaces of historical ceramics

I. Szalóki, M. Braun, R. Van Grieken

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The leaching of Pb and other elements from glazed terracotta pottery items manufactured in the 19-20th centuries in the Carpathian basin was investigated by ICP-AES. The Pb content of the ceramics glaze was determined by EDXRF analysis with 125I radioisotope excitation. A standardless calculation process based on the fundamental parameter method for the simultaneous determination of the lead content and the glaze thickness was performed. The release experiments were carried out on 78 pieces of pottery items by the use of 0.01 mol l-1 citric acid solution at room temperature. The average Pb content reached 54 mg l-1 after 48 h contact time but in some cases it was found to be between 300 and 900 mg l-1. The Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric statistical test was applied to compare the leached Pb contents from sets of pottery manufactured in seven different geographical regions. The similarities and differences in the leaching properties for each investigated element were analyzed by principal component and discriminant analysis. Long-term kinetics of the release effect from six pieces of selected pottery items were also measured over a 25 d period and a linear combination of exponential and linear functions with time was found as the best fit to the measured concentration values. The results of these experiments indicated that the regular daily use of Pb-glazed pottery in the household for meal purposes resulted in a high human health risk factor in the past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-850
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of analytical atomic spectrometry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

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