Glass beads are used in road markings to obtain retroreflectivity and recently have received attention due to the presence of arsenic (As), lead (Pb), and antimony (Sb). In this study, six domestic (U.S.-manufactured) and 12 imported batches of glass beads were analyzed for total metal and metalloid concentrations using field-portable X-ray fluorescence. For domestic batches, average concentrations of 8 mg/kg for As, 23 mg/kg for Pb, and 55 mg/kg for Sb were observed. On the other hand, the imported batches were found to have averages of 485 mg/kg for As, 97 mg/kg for Pb, and 106 mg/kg for Sb. Samples from batches followed Gaussian distributions; however, variability in concentrations within the imported batches was significant with errors ranging from 18% to 22% for As, 50% to 83% for Pb, and 13% to 16% for Sb. Based on these results, additional studies are warranted to evaluate the potential for leaching of metals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- field portable X-ray fluorescence
- glass beads
- heavy metals
- highways and roads