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Title: Environmental arsenic, cadmium and lead dust emissions from metal mine operations: Implications for environmental management, monitoring and human health

Although blood lead values in children are predominantly falling globally, there are locations where lead exposure remains a persistent problem. One such location is Broken Hill, Australia, where the percentage of blood lead values >10 μg/dL in children aged 1–4 years has risen from 12.6% (2010), to 13% (2011) to 21% (2012). The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of metal contamination in places accessible to children. This study examines contemporary exposure risks from arsenic, cadmium, lead, silver and zinc in surface soil and dust, and in pre- and post-play hand wipes at six playgrounds across Broken Hill over a 5-day period in September 2013. Soil lead (mean 2,450 mg/kg) and zinc (mean 3,710 mg/kg) were the most elevated metals in playgrounds. Surface dust lead concentrations were consistently elevated (mean 27,500 μg/m{sup 2}) with the highest lead in surface dust (59,900 μg/m{sup 2}) and post-play hand wipes (60,900 μg/m{sup 2}) recorded close to existing mining operations. Surface and post-play hand wipe dust values exceeded national guidelines for lead and international benchmarks for arsenic, cadmium and lead. Lead isotopic compositions ({sup 206}Pb/{sup 207}Pb, {sup 208}Pb/{sup 207}Pb) of surface dust wipes from the playgrounds revealed the source of leadmore » contamination to be indistinct from the local Broken Hill ore body. The data suggest frequent, cumulative and ongoing mine-derived dust metal contamination poses a serious risk of harm to children. - Highlights: 1.Playground soils and surface dust in a mining town have high metal concentrations. 2.Elevated levels of As, Cd, Pb and Zn dust are found on playground users′ hands. 3.Pb isotope analysis shows that the source of playground dust is ore body Pb. 4.Surface mine operations must be contained to reduce childhood lead exposure risks. 5.Mine environmental licences need to set trigger values for As, Cd, Pb and Zn dust.« less
Authors:
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22447556
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Research; Journal Volume: 135; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ARSENIC; BLOOD; CADMIUM; CHILDREN; CONTAMINATION; DUSTS; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; ISOTOPE RATIO; LEAD; LEAD 206; LEAD 207; LEAD 208; MINES; PUBLIC HEALTH; SILVER; SOILS; ZINC