Is it safe?
We have consulted with experts on chemical safety, and the reagent is safe use with suitable precautions. The main component is an alcohol and therefore it is flammable and a can irritate the skin. Using similar safety precautions as with for example bathroom cleaning agents etc is advised (well-vented area, for safety wear glasses, do not look into flashlight, do not spray towards or onto people, do not spray towards warm object, electricity cables etc.).
Is it safe to use around children?
Although the spray is safe, the kit should be kept out of reach of children, it should be avoided that children inhale the spray and of course it should not be sprayed on items that the child will touch and put in it’s mouth. Also the UV can be harmful for the eyes when looked into the light directly.
Does one need to use safety precautions when using the product? (Gloves, mask to prevent inhalation, etc.)
Each pump of the spray releases only 0.1 ml of reagent. If many tests are performed it is advisable to wear gloves as it can be irritating to the skin and to open the window because it will smell like alcohol. Make sure that the spray is pointed in the right direction.
Does it damage the item that the product is sprayed on?
The test doubles also as a coloring test. High concentrations of lead turn yellow. Therefore one should test in an inconspicuous place first. It also might stain sensitive surfaces like varnish due to its alcohol content. It is also mildly corrosive; therefore, when testing metals, it should be wiped off or rinsed with water afterwards to avoid rust formation or staining.
Can the product be safely (and completely) wiped off the item tested (not leaving any residue behind)?
As mentioned under question 4. It is advisable to wipe off the tested area. The reagent is water soluble and can be wiped off. However, if lead is detected a discoloration can appear and the reagent may harm sensitive surfaces. Thus, should be tested in inconspicuous places first.
Can it safely be used on things like toys (that will then be returned to the child to play with after it has been used)?
The reagent can be washed off with water. If the toy can be properly washed off before returning it to the child it is safe.
Do you have an MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet)?
Of course, our MSDS is available upon request. As the active compounds are only present in very low concentration, it has the same safety profile as isopropyl alcohol which is the main ingredient also in hand many sanitizers.
How has the safety been tested (especially in terms of safety for use around children)?
The safety is tested around children. We recommend keeping the kit out of reach of children. Besides extensive consultation with safety experts, we have also used the test extensively ourselves in and around our houses for more than 2.5 years. NGO’s also have already used our test in many locations around the world.
Is the reagent irritant to the skin?
In the scientific publication we indeed describe one of the ingredients which is at high concentrations irritating. The concentration in our product is below 1%, thus only milligram per spray. This makes it safe to use. It should not be sprayed on skin or and one should avoid inhaling the mist.
What’s the low threshold of detection in ppm?
Ppm is measured on a volume, our technique is mainly sensitive on the surface, making converting between the photoluminescent signal and ppm not straightforward. We are currently performing studies on this (see also below).
Can it find Lead in toys at levels as low as 90 ppm and lower?
We have tested the NIST standard for children toys and could find lead in the 400ppm reference. As the lead is typically well encapsulated in the plastic, this reaction however might take an hour. We are performing research to determine the detection limit.
Can it find Lead in new products – like dishes (where the surface is not deteriorated at all)?
Yes, but it often works best when the surface is a little scratched, it can help to use a sharp object and scratch a little “X” on the backside of the plate.
Once you have sprayed the substance on an item, how long does it glow for (does it glow until you wash it off)?
This depends on the substance. For some objects the photoluminescence will become weaker after a few minutes, but many paint sources remain glowing for days or longer. Water can break down the light-emitting material, thereby stopping the photoluminescence; however, if the light-emitting material is encapsulated, it can remain intact.
Will the spray work on lower-level lead in glassware (vs. Leaded crystal)?
We tested glass with ca. 200,000 ppm and this worked very well. We could not get our hands on glass with lower concentrations of lead, would be curious what people find.
Will it work on enamel paints applied to metal (in new condition, not deteriorated at all)?
We have seen reactions that work well on enamel paints. Scratching a small “X” with a sharp object might help.
Does it have different low thresholds of detection on different types of items / products (metal, painted wood, painted metal, ceramics, soil, etc.)?
Yes we have seen variation in outcomes depending on items. In general the reagent needs to be able to interact with the lead to form the light emitting perovskite structure. But we have seen that the reagent can diffuse into paint, glass and plastics to react. Also depending on the item, different testing methods may help. For instance, for metals (cooking pans, jewelry etc.) it is often better to rub the metal with a melamine sponge (also known as magic eraser) and then test on the sponge instead of testing directly on the metal.
Can I test spices?
The current version of the test is not suitable to test spices such as turmeric. Turmeric contains curcucumin, which by itself shows green fluorescence.
Can I test food?
Many foods contain either molecules that light up under the LeadLight or contain water which makes them unsuitable to be tested. The reagent should not be swallowed.