Source and pathways of lead in humans from the Broken Hill mining community - an alternative use of exploration methods

B. L. Gulson, K. J. Mizon, A. J. Law, M. J. Korsch, J. J. Davis, D. Howarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To assist in recommendations for the most suitable lead abatement policies in Broken Hill, NSW, Australia, knowledge of the sources and pathways of the lead into humans is critical. High precision lead isotope ratio measurements and lead contents were determined by thermal ionization mass spectrometry on biological samples (blood, urine) and environmental samples from 27 families. Sources of lead have been identified in the blood of children, using lead isotopes, with dominant contributions from the Broken Hill orebody, but with individual cases having a dominant source of lead from gasoline or paint. Scanning electron microscopy identified the most common lead species in soils and dusts to be composed of a complex Pb,Fe,Mn,Ca,Al,Si, O material with rare galena in houses close to the central mining activity. The currently suggested amounts of ~100 mg/d ingested soil (dirt) and dust for a Broken Hill child can readily account for the elevated lead levels compared with the amounts for children in many other mining communities. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-908
Number of pages20
JournalEconomic Geology
Volume89
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

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