Preliminary assessment of surface soil lead concentrations in Melbourne, Australia
- First Online:
Urban soils in many cities have been found to be contaminated with lead from past usage of leaded petrol, deteriorating lead-based exterior paints and industrial sources. Currently, the spatial distribution of soil lead concentrations in the Melbourne metropolitan area is unknown. The objective of this study was to perform a preliminary assessment of the spatial distributions of the surface soil lead (Pb) concentrations in the Melbourne metropolitan area, Australia. Fifty-eight surface soil samples were collected at a depth of 0–2 cm along three linear transects oriented across the Melbourne metropolitan area. Surface soil samples were also collected at a higher density in five Melbourne suburbs. Soil cores (0–50 cm) were collected in four locations, soil transects were collected at intervals with distance away from the roadway (0–50 m) in two inner city parks, and one control soil sample was collected in a rural setting. The median soil Pb concentration of the soil transect samples was 173 mg/kg (range 32–710 mg/kg), and the median soil Pb concentration of the five suburbs was 69 mg/kg (range 9–1750 mg/kg). The suburb of Footscray had the highest soil Pb concentration with a median soil Pb concentration of 192 mg/kg (range 40–1750 mg/kg). Soil Pb concentrations were generally higher nearest the centre of the Melbourne metropolitan area and in the west of Melbourne and lower in the outer suburbs to the east and north of the city centre. Soil Pb concentrations decreased with distance from roadways in the two transects taken from urban parks, and soil lead decreased with depth in the four soil cores. The soil Pb concentrations in the Melbourne metropolitan area appear to be lower than soil lead concentrations observed in inner city areas of Sydney New South Wales (NSW) and Newcastle NSW. The spatial extent of the soil Pb hazard remains undefined in portions of the Melbourne metropolitan area.
KeywordsMelbourne Australia Soil Lead Exposure Transect Urban
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2017). 3218.0—Regional population growth, Australia, 2015–16. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/3218.02015-16?OpenDocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=3218.0&issue=2015-16&num=&view=. Accessed June 7, 2017.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). (2017). Historical distribution of population in Australian capital cities. https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Appendix%20C%20-%20Urban%20growth.pdf. Accessed June 7, 2017.
- Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy. (AGFOEE) (2017). Lead in house paints. http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/chemicals-management/lead/lead-in-house-paint. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Bellinger, D. C. (2011). The protean toxicities of lead: new chapters in a familiar story. International Journal of Environment Research Public Health, 8(7), 2593–2628. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8072593. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3155319/. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Bickel, M. J. (2010) Spatial and temporal relationships between blood lead and soil lead concentrations in Detroit, Michigan. Open Access Theses. Paper 47. http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/oa_theses/47. Accessed June 9, 2017.
- British Geological Survey (BGS). (2017a). Urban Geochemistry. http://www.bgs.ac.uk/gbase/urban.html. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- British geological Survey (BGS). (2017b). London soil geochemistry map lead (Pb). http://www.bgs.ac.uk/downloads/start.cfm?id=2026. Accessed June 8, 2017.
- California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA). (2009). Revised California human health screening levels for lead. http://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/crnr/leadchhsl091709.pdf. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). (2013). Soil quality guidelines for the protection of environmental and human health. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. http://st-ts.ccme.ca/en/index.html. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017). What do parents need to know to protect their children? https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/acclpp/blood_lead_levels.htm. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Harvey, P. J., Taylor, M. P., Kristensen, L. J., Grant-Vest, S., Rouillon, M., Wu, L., et al. (2016). Evaluation and assessment of the efficacy of an abatement strategy in a former lead smelter community, Boolaroo, Australia. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 38(4), 941–954. doi:10.1007/s10653-015-9779-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hopper, J. L., Balderas, A., & Mathews, J. D. (1981). Analysis of variation in blood lead levels in Melbourne families. The Medical Journal of Australia, 2(12), 573–576.Google Scholar
- Igalavithana, A. D., Shaheen, S. M., Park, J. N., Lee, S. S. & Ok, Y. S. (2015). Potentially toxic element contamination and its impact on soil biological quality in urban agriculture: A critical review. In I. Sherameti & A. Varma (Eds.), Heavy metal contamination of soils (pp. 81–101). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Kovarik, W. (2005). Ethyl-leaded gasoline: how a classic occupational disease became an international public health disaster. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 11(4), 384–397. http://www.ethyl.environmentalhistory.org/?page_id=27. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Laidlaw, M. A., Mielke, H. W., Filippelli, G. M., Johnson, D. L., & Gonzales, C. R. (2005). Seasonality and children’s blood lead levels: Developing a predictive model using climatic variables and blood lead data from Indianapolis, Indiana, Syracuse, New York, and New Orleans, Louisiana (USA). Environmental Health Perspectives, 1, 793–800. doi:10.1289/ehp.7759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Laidlaw, M. A., Mohmmad, S. M., Gulson, B. L., Taylor, M. P., Kristensen, L. J., & Birch, G. (2017b). Estimates of potential childhood lead exposure from contaminated soil using the US EPA IEUBK Model in Sydney, Australia. Environmental Research, 156, 781–790. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2017.04.040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Laidlaw, M. A., Zahran, S., Mielke, H. W., Taylor, M. P., & Filippelli, G. M. (2012). Re-suspension of lead contaminated urban soil as a dominant source of atmospheric lead in Birmingham, Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh, USA. Atmospheric Environment, 49, 302–310. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.11.030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Maribyrnong City Council. (2000). Environmental history city of Maribyrnong. Maribyrnong Heritage Review. Retrieved https://www.maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/…/city…/vol_2_hist_final_sc.pdf. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Mielke, H. W., Gonzales, C., Powell, E., & Mielke, P. W. (2005). Changes of multiple metal accumulation (MMA) in New Orleans soil: preliminary evaluation of differences between survey I (1992) and survey II (2000). International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health, 2, 308–313. doi:10.3390/ijerph2005020016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mikkonen, H. G., Clarke, B. O., Dasika, R., Wallis, C. J., & Reichman, S. M. (2016). Assessment of ambient background concentrations of elements in soil using combined survey and open-source data. Science of the Total Environment, 580, 1410–1420. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (2016). NHMRC statement: Evidence on the effects of lead on human health. https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/eh58. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- NEPC. (2013a). National Environment Protection (assessment of site contamination) measure 1999: Schedule B(1) guideline on the investigation levels for soil and groundwater. Adelaide: National Environment Protection Council. http://www.nepc.gov.au/system/files/resources/93ae0e77-e697-e494-656f-afaaf9fb4277/files/schedule-b1-guideline-investigation-levels-soil-and-groundwater-sep10.pdf Accessed February 6, 2017.
- NEPC. (2013b). National Environment Protection (Assessment of site contamination) measure 1999: Schedule 3B. Laboratory analysis of potentially contaminated soils. http://www.nepc.gov.au/system/files/resources/93ae0e77-e697-e494-656f-afaaf9fb4277/files/schedule-b3-guideline-laboratory-analysis-potentially-contaminated-soils-sep10.pdf. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Norwegian Pollution Control Agency (NCPA). 2009. Soil contamination in day-care centers and playgrounds. Norwegian Pollution Control Authority. http://www.miljodirektoratet.no/old/klif/publikasjoner/2550/ta2550.pdf. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Olszowy, H., Torr, P., & Imray, P. (1995). Trace element concentrations in soils from rural and urban areas of Australia. Contaminated sites series No. 4. Department of Human Services and Health, Environment Protection Agency, South Australian Health Commission.Google Scholar
- Rouillon, M., Harvey, P. J., Kristensen, L. J., George, S. G., & Taylor, M. P. (2017). VegeSafe: A community science program measuring soil-metal contamination, evaluating risk and providing advice for safe gardening. Environmental Pollution, 222, 557–566. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2016.11.024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- United States Department of Health National Toxicology Program (USDH-NTP). (2012). Health effects of low-level lead evaluation NTP monograph on health effects of low-level lead. Available online: http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/pubhealth/hat/noms/lead/index.html. Accessed February 10, 2016.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). (2001). Federal Registry:Part 3. 40 CFR Part 745 lead; identification of dangerous levels of lead; final rule. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2001-01-05/pdf/01-84.pdf. Accessed February 6, 2016.
- Vassarstats. (2017). Mann–Whitney test. http://vassarstats.net/utest.html. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Victoria Department of Natural Resources and Environment. (1997). Melbourne 1:25,000 geological series map-SJ55. Edition 2.Google Scholar
- World Health Organisation (WHO). (2016). Lead poisoning and health. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs379/en/. Accessed February 6, 2017.
- Yekeen, T. A., Xu, X., Zhang, Y., Wu, Y., Kim, S., Reponen, T., et al. (2016). Assessment of health risk of trace metal pollution in surface soil and road dust from e-waste recycling area in China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23(17), 17511–17524. doi:10.1007/s11356-016-6896-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Zahran, S., Mielke, H. W., McElmurry, S. P., Filippelli, G. M., Laidlaw, M. A., & Taylor, M. P. (2013b). Determining the relative importance of soil sample locations to predict risk of child lead exposure. Environmental International, 60, 7–14. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2013.07.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar