This study examines a novel method to determine heavy metal contamination in the environment. This method will combine the established technique of atomic absorption spectroscopy with terrestrial isopods. The terrestrial isopods bioaccumulate heavy metals. The established forensic analysis by atomic absorption was used to quantify heavy metal poisoning. Spectroscopy determined the presence of arsenic and lead in four study areas. Arsenic contamination was the focus of this study. Lead contamination was done in parallel to verify the method. As part of the controls, three types of lumber were offered the isopods to feed on. Those lumber samples were kiln dried lumber, ACQ preserved lumber, and CCA preserved lumber. Three samples of terrestrial isopods were collected from each control and test area. The test areas included a private residence, the Rochester Institute of Technology campus, a local park, and a local gun club. In addition, standing water at the gun club was included as a separate sample; it tested 0 ppm for arsenic, and 1.257 ppm for lead. Although this method exhibited robustness and reliability, collection methods and weather conditions appeared to be the limiting factor. The impact of drought established that a minimum mass of sample is required.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Arsenic wastes--Measurement; Lumber--Arsenic content; Arsenic toxicology; Atomic absorption spectroscopy
Department, Program, or Center
School of Chemistry and Materials Science (COS)
Franklin, Dean, "A novel approach to determine arsenic contamination in the environment" (2007). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus