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Rhodizonate test for lead

This test uses a rhodizonate solution to test for the presence of lead in bodily samples. Rhodizonate is a molecule that, in solution, has two negative charges on oxygens. Because of these negative charges, rhodizonate is most stable when it is connected to an element (like lead and other metals) with a positive charge. In this case, lead will form a salt with rhodizonate.

To perform the test, the test sample is mixed with sodium tartrate buffer solution. A drop of acidified solution is placed on filter paper and sodium rhodizonate solution is added.

If the solution contains lead, the test will yield a purple precipitate. However, the test is not only specific for lead; a brown precipitate indicates the presence of barium and other colored precipitates can form if other metals are present.