Elemental Analysis of Kelp Powder Supplements Through X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry

Schroeder, Alexandra, Zachary Smith, Mark Benvenuto, and Elizabeth Roberts-Kirchhoff

Kelp powder supplements can be consumed with the hope of improving one’s health. Analysis of a variety of kelp powders using a hand-held X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer was used to determine if these supplements contained elements that are either beneficial or harmful to the human body.  The levels of certain metals including potassium, calcium, arsenic, and lead contained within the powders were analyzed. Standard concentrations of lead were used to determine how accurate the results from the hand held XRF were as compared to the certified values. Of the seventeen kelp powders, every sample contained significant amounts of potassium, calcium, and arsenic, while only two of the powders contained traces of lead.