Sources and pathways of environmental lead to children in a Derbyshire mining village
- Cite this article as:
- Cotter-Howells, J. & Thornton, I. Environ Geochem Health (1991) 13: 127. doi:10.1007/BF01734304
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Garden soil and housedust samples, from households in a Derbyshire village closely associated with historic lead mining, have highly elevated lead levels. Handwipe samples from children also have relatively high lead concentrations suggesting that elevated levels of lead are transferred to the child by the soil-dust-hand-mouth pathway. However, this is not reflected in their blood lead concentrations which are within normal UK ranges and less than predicted by some lead exposure models. SEM analysis of soil grains has revealed that many are composed of pyromorphite [Pb5(PO4)3Cl], a stable soil-lead mineral. This mineral is formed from the weathering of galena [PbS] but it is not clear to what extent weathering has occurred in the soil. Pyromorphite has an extremely low solubility which may contribute to a low human bioavailability of lead in these soils, resulting in the lower than expected blood lead concentrations.