This may be of some intrest or value Jesse
Mike Aurelius" email@example.com about: Polishing Cerium
Cerium oxide is a widely used ‘rare earth’ for polishing glass.
It comes in many varieties, the most common is tan to dark brown
(indicating high iron content). Pure cerium is white (and very
expensive). The dust, if inhaled, can lead to respiratory
problems, however, it is designed to be used wet. Any splash you
get should be cleaned up with a damp rag. There are no know
disposal problems (not considered hazardous waste).
That being said, it is important to note that the dark brown
cerium now available from some suppliers may be coming from
China and MAY be contaminated with thorium. A large optical
manufacturer just down the street found out their entire lot of
polish (and also their semi truck full of ground
glass/grinding/polish sludge) was radioactive, was impounded by
the EPA, and now have a BIG mess to clean up. Moral - enquire
of your supplier the source of the cerium, and if it has been
checked for thorium content.
As a side note, we are using the white cerium, and have found
that it lasts almost forever.