Cadmium Detection Chem Owl

Cadmium can be found in paints, food, plastics, fixtures and in other places around your home - want to find out more? Click here to find out why Cadmium detection is important and about the hazards of Cadmium in your home.


1 Cotton swab (“q-tip”)

1 Disposable plastic cup

1 Small disposable white plastic plate

Rubbing alcohol (a.k.a.: ethanol)

Cadmium Indicator: 1,5-diphenylcarbazone (can be purchased here)

Cadmium Detection Procedure

1. Lightly soak a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and rub against the item you wish to test for about 1 minute.

2. Let swab air dry to evaporate the alcohol.

3. In a cup mix a small pinch of the Cadmium Indicator with ½ a cup of alcohol. Label this solution – “Indicator”.

4. On a white plastic plate place a drop of the Indicator solution.

5. Dip the dried test swab into the drop of Indicator solution and allow it to soak up the liquid. If Cadmium is present on the swab a violet-blue coloration should appear on it within 1-10 minutes(depending on the Cadmium concentration).

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with a clean (untreated) swab which will serve as a reference to help distinguish the color-change.

Comments About Cadmium Inspection

• This method is qualitative and able to detect Cadmium content down to 0.1%.

• When testing several items, be sure to check each individual surface with separate swabs and drop solution mixtures in order to avoid cross-contamination of the results.

• If Cadmium is detected it is advised that you limit your exposure and contact a professional.

• Excess amounts of copper and iron may interfere with the test.

Cadmium Testing Safety

• Always work with safety glasses and disposable gloves.

• Always keep chemicals away from children and food.

• Do not use containers, utensils or other tools that you may use to prepare food.

• Dispose of solutions in a drain with flowing water.

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