The release of heavy metals from uncovered and nickel-covered brass pumps has been evaluated by ICP-MS analysis in both simple ultrapure water and 3% acetic acid solution (mimic of neutral and acid edible liquids, respectively), following a procedure similar to that recommended by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International, Test Procedure P203. The results found highlight that the main release regards zinc, copper and lead, i.e. the three major metals present in brass alloys. The first contact of brass surfaces with the extraction solvent leads to an extensive Pb release which is comparable with that observed for Cu and Zn. Subsequent washings reduce markedly the Pb release, thus rising in evidence a progressive surface passivation. In particular, the Pb release found after four repeated washings turns out to approach the limit set by both Italian and USA governments for liquids used for food purposes when determined in neutral media, while it remains quite higher when evaluated in acid media. Release analyses conducted on nickel-covered brass pumps point out that the Niploy nickel coating process is very effective for brass surface protection, in that the Pb release is reduced of about three orders of magnitude, but a Ni release exceeding the relevant permitted level is in this case observed.
Annali di Chimica 04/2002; 92(3):289-99. · 0.99 Impact Factor