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I've bought pewter at the thrift store and I want to try casting metal. This pewter may contain toxic metals. A ready-made testing kit I've found cost €25 for each sample.

In comparison pewter of know origin (98% tin/2% antimony) costs €40 per kg, pewter from the thrift store is €4 per kg. If possible I want to test the pewter before buying.

Is there an easy way to measure the lead content of a pewter sample?

I'm not a chemist but do have a basic understanding of chemistry. I've calculated the density of the sample to be: $8.55~g~cm^{3} ± 0.5~g~cm^{3}$.

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  • $\begingroup$ How did you calculate the density? $\endgroup$ – Joseph Hirsch Dec 10 '16 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Does it look shiny like silver or dull like lead? Also is it soft enough to bend very easily? Pewter will not resonate much when tapped but nickel silver will. $\endgroup$ – Joseph Hirsch Dec 10 '16 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ I measured the weight and water displacement. But very roughly, that's why I gave it a large margin of error. $\endgroup$ – JWRM22 Dec 10 '16 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ It bend very easy. I didn't do a ring test. But I can melt it on an electric stove. $\endgroup$ – JWRM22 Dec 10 '16 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ That's ok it's mostly tin and or lead. Not sure how best to find lead percent. Tin has 2 forms with different densities. $\endgroup$ – Joseph Hirsch Dec 10 '16 at 19:14
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You are likely looking for trace levels, so I do not suggest any at home kit. At best, is it colorimetric and sensitive to interferences. If you really want to know, find an environmental lab and ask them to run ICP-MS to determine the lead content. Atomic absorption spectroscopy would be the second best method.

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