Tracking the source of contaminant lead in children's blood.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113307


Pb isotope ratios are used for apportioning the sources of Pb in the blood of children (ages 1-6) screened for high blood Pb levels (>5 μg/dL) surrounding urban areas of Kansas City, MO. We compared Pb isotope ratios measured in the child's blood with those of the most likely sources of Pb in that child's home environment. The environmental sources sampled consisted of topsoils, paints, occupational sources (e.g., oil rig workers' uniforms, mechanics' clothes), indoor air filters, dusts, and dietary sources (e.g., spices). Blood lead levels (BLL) ranged from 2.9 to 12.7 μg/dL in children from the five homes participating in this study. Measurements of 206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb and 208Pb/204Pb isotope ratios were made by multi-collector ICP-MS. Comparison of the Pb isotope ratios in home environment samples versus those in the child's blood in each home allowed the identification of possible sources of a child's Pb exposure in three homes. In five homes investigated, children's blood Pb levels were most likely to be derived from dusts inside, and topsoil outside, the homes, or a mixture thereof. In one case, blood Pb was derived from turmeric spice and, in another, the Pb was derived from paint. It is not always possible to directly link high BLLs to the environmental sources collected when Pb isotope ratios of the environmental samples did not overlap with those of the blood.

Journal Title

Environmental research




Pt B

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MeSH Keywords

Child; Child, Preschool; Cities; Dust; Environmental Exposure; Humans; Infant; Isotopes; Lead; Paint


Cities; Dust; Environmental Exposure; Isotopes; Lead; Paint

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