Technical Integrity / Collaboration / Exceptional Results

Evaluation of Lead and Arsenic Exposure Sources to Children in Residential Environments

Evaluation of Lead and Arsenic ExposureIntegral scientists have extensive experience in the evaluation of lead and arsenic exposure sources to children at mining, smelting, and industrial sites. We have performed studies at the Bartlesville Zinc Smelter in Oklahoma; a mining district in Rico, Colorado; the Globeville smelter in Colorado; and at the CMC Lite Yard Superfund site in Missouri. For all of these projects, we have applied advanced scientific methods and forensics techniques to effectively quantify sources of lead and arsenic exposure, allowing for better risk management decisions.
Integral is currently conducting a study of lead exposure sources to children at a historical mining district. Potential sources of lead to soils include historical mining activities, leaded paint, car and lawnmower emissions, and background lead concentrations in soils that are naturally elevated due to surface outcrops of mineralized formations. This study is complicated by the fact that the naturally occurring background lead in soils derives from the same source as the mined lead. The study relies on the spatial evaluation of lead and other metals, concentrations in soils as a function of land use, proximity to known mining-lead sources, and housing stock age. A variety of forensic techniques are being employed to identify and quantify the extent of lead contributions from these different sources, including targeted sampling of surficial soils and soil cores, unmixing analysis to identify patterns of metals concentrations that are indicative of the various sources, scanning electron microscopy to identify lead phases, and stable lead isotope concentrations and ratios that indicate specific source materials.
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