Linking source and effect: resuspended soil lead, air lead, and children's blood lead levels in Detroit, Michigan

Sammy Zahran, Mark A S Laidlaw, Shawn P. McElmurry*, Gabriel M. Filippelli, Mark Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    188 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study evaluates atmospheric concentrations of soil and Pb aerosols, and blood lead levels (BLLs) in 367 839 children (ages 0-10) in Detroit, Michigan from 2001 to 2009 to test a hypothesized soil → air dust → child pathway of contemporary Pb risk. Atmospheric soil and Pb show near-identical seasonal properties that match seasonal variation in children's BLLs. Resuspended soil appears to be a significant underlying source of atmospheric Pb. A 1% increase in the amount of resuspended soil results in a 0.39% increase in the concentration of Pb in the atmosphere (95% CI, 0.28 to 0.50%). In turn, atmospheric Pb significantly explains age-dependent variation in child BLLs. Other things held equal, a change of 0.0069 μg/m3 in atmospheric Pb increases BLL of a child 1 year of age by 10%, while approximately 3 times the concentration of Pb in air (0.023 μg/m3) is required to induce the same increase in BLL of a child 7 years of age. Similarly, a 0.0069 μg/m3 change in air Pb increases the odds of a child <1 year of age having a BLL ≥ 5 μg/dL by a multiplicative factor of 1.32 (95% CI, 1.26 to 1.37). Overall, the resuspension of Pb contaminated soil explains observed seasonal variation in child BLLs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2839-2845
    Number of pages7
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Volume47
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2013

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