GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 300-11
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM


LAGAMBA, Nicholas and NOLL, Mark R., Department of the Earth Sciences, SUNY College at Brockport, 350 New Campus Dr, Brockport, NY 14420,

Lead is an established and potent neurotoxin and lead additives in the form of white-lead oxide (2PbCO3•Pb(OH)2) and tetraethyllead ((CH3CH2)4Pb) were used in the production of household paints and added to gasoline as an engine knock inhibitor, respectively (Mielke et al., 1997). Since their incorporation in commercial products, approximately 12 million tons of lead have been deposited into the environment in the United States alone and have persisted in the soils upon which they settle (Zahran et al., 2013). Once settled on soils, lead is easily ingested by hand-to-mouth tendencies of children ages six and under and is also tracked into households by shoes, accounting for 30-40% of household dust, prolonging exposure (Dixon et al., 2006). Due to a child’s small stature, the adverse health effects of lead poisoning experienced by children is exaggerated.   Rochester, located in Monroe County, NY, historically has seen elevated concentrations of lead in soils due to the city’s dense networks of automobile travel combined with the fact that >95% of the residential houses were constructed prior to 1980 and therefore may contain leaded paint. Despite abatement, 283 children under age six tested positive for blood lead levels ≥10 µg/dL in 2008. Monroe County also reports that ~90% of children that test positive within city limits are concentrated in the Northeast, Northwest, and Southwest sections of the city.   An investigation of the soils from various locations within city limits was performed. Soil samples were anonymously and randomly collected by third parties from their homes, digested according to US EPA Standard Method 3050B (US EPA), and analyzed for total lead concentration via ICP-OES. Of the nineteen out of fifty samples analyzed to date, an average concentration of 223 mg-Pb/kg-soil (ppm) was determined, not including the maximum determined concentration of 3245 mg-Pb/kg-soil. Three of nineteen samples exceeded the EPA standard of 400 ppm for residential-play areas. Preliminary results corroborate Monroe County’s findings – of samples equal to or greater than the average determined concentration, all but two were located in the three target sections of the city. More samples are to be analyzed, and spatial correlation using ArcMap will be performed.