Skip to main content

Current uses of the EPA lead model to assess health risk and action levels for soil

Abstract

The EPA lead model predicts mean blood lead levels and risk of elevated blood lead levels in children based on lead uptake from multiple sources. In the latest model versions, environmental data from individual homes within a community can be used to predict the overall blood lead distribution and percent risk of exceeding a specific blood lead level (i.e. 10 μg dl−1). Recent criteria used by the EPA to evaluate this information include no more than 5% of houses with a greater than 5% lead risk, and a community weighted-average risk below 5%. Environmental (primarily soil) and blood lead data from a residential community near a smelter were used to illustrate recent uses of the model. Scheduled remediation in the community will remove soil for approximately 60% of the houses (i.e. those with lead levels > 1000 mg kg−1). After remediation, the model results indicate a relatively low community risk (0.5–1.9%), although the percentage of houses with lead risks above 5% ranged from 3 to as high as 13%, depending on the variation in blood lead and assuming the model's 7 μg dl−1 increase in blood lead with each 1000 mg kg−1 increase in soil lead level. A comparison of the limited blood lead data with soil lead levels below 1000 mg kg−1, however, indicated no apparent relationship. Given these uncertainties, less invasive actions than additional soil removal (e.g. exposure intervention, monitoring conditions, and follow-up as necessary) may be appropriate under the new EPA guidance for lead in soil.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1993.Toxicological Profile for Lead. US Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bornschein, R.L., Clark, C.S., Grote, J., Peace, B., Roda, S. and Succop, P. 1988. Soil lead — blood lead relationship in a former lead mining town. In: Davies, B.E. and Wixson, B.G. (eds),Lead in Soil: Issues and Guidelines, pp. 149–160. Science Reviews, Northwood.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bornschein, R.L., Clark, C.S. and Succop, P. 1991. Midvale community lead study.Chemical Speciation and Bioavailability,3 (3/4), 149–162.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bornschein, R., Grote, J., Menrath, W. and Roda, S. 1994. Blood Lead Studies in the Rockies: Model Derived Risk Estimates Versus Observational Studies. University of Cincinnati. Cincinnati, Ohio. Presented at the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health Conference. Salt Lake City, Utah. July 18–19, 1994.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 1991.Preventing Lead Poisoning in Young Children. US Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with Lewis and Clark County Health Department, Montana Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, and US Environmental Protection Agency. 1986. East Helena, Montana, child lead study, summer 1983. US Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Cermak Peterka Petersen, Inc. (CPP). 1993. Atmospheric dispersion modeling for annual average concentrations of lead, arsenic, and cadmium at East Helena, Montana. December. Fort Collins, Colorado.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Clay, D.R. 1991. Update on OSWER soil lead cleanup guidance. Memorandum from the Assistant Administrator. August 29. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Goldman, L.R. 1994. Guidance on residential leadbased paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated soil. Memorandum from the Assistant Administrator, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. July 14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Gunderson, E. 1993. Personal communication. Total Diet Study, Contaminants Branch, Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Hydrometrics, Inc. 1993. Personal communication. Helena, Montana.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Hydrometrics Remediation Services (HRS). 1993. 1992 year end report for East Helena Superfund site. February. Helena, Montana.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Laws, E.P. 1994. Revised interim soil lead guidance for CERCLA sites and RCRA corrective action facilities. Memorandum from the Assistant Administrator, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. OSWER Directive #9355.4-12. July 14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Lewis & Clark City-County Health Department (LCCCHD). 1991. 1991 Child lead study: East Helena, Montana. Helena, Montana. April–June.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Marcus, A.H. 1992. Use of site-specific data in models for lead risk assessment and risk management. In: Beck, B. (ed.), An update of exposure and effects of lead.Fundamental and Applied Toxicology,18, 10–16.

  16. Marcus, A.H. and Elias, R.W. 1994. Estimating the contribution of lead-based paint to soil lead, dust lead, and childhood blood lead. In: Beard, M.E. and Allen Iske, S.D. (eds),Lead in Paint, Soil, and Dust: Health Risks, Exposure Studies, Control Measures, Measurement Methods, and Quality Assurance, ASTM STP 1226. American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Smuggler Mountain Technical Advisory Committee. 1993. Final report Smuggler Mountain. January 27. Aspen/Pitkin Health Department, Aspen, Colorado.

    Google Scholar 

  18. US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). 1991.Guidance Manual for Site-Specific Use of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lead Model. Draft. December. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  19. US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). 1994.Guidance Manual for the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic Model for Lead in Children. EPA/540/R-93/081. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  20. US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Region VIII. 1993. Personal communication. Denver, Colorado.

    Google Scholar 

  21. US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Region VIII. 1995. Personal communication. Denver, Colorado.

    Google Scholar 

  22. US Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board (US EPA SAB). 1992.An SAB Report: Review Of The Uptake Biokinetic (UBK) Model For Lead. EPA-SAB-IAQC-82-016. March. Washington, D.C.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joyce S. Tsuji.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tsuji, J.S., Serl, K.M. Current uses of the EPA lead model to assess health risk and action levels for soil. Environ Geochem Health 18, 25–33 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01757216

Download citation

Keywords

  • Lead
  • soil
  • EPA lead model
  • blood lead level
  • lead smelter