Soil lead levels in a small town environment: a case study from Mt Pleasant, Michigan

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Few studies are made on the potential soil Pb burden for a small city in rural environment. Data obtained by atomic absorption spectrophotometry suggest a somewhat weak significant positive relationship (r = 0·27) between increased traffic volume and roadside soil Pb content. Median soil Pb levels along the most heavily travelled roads are 320 μg g-1 while background concentrations are 200 μg g-1. No significant relationship is found between predominant wind direction and soil Pb content. Zones where cars idle have only slightly elevated Pb levels. Older homes have soil Pb values exceeding 1000 μg g-1; a significant positive relationship (r = 0·59) exists between increasing soil Pb and home age. Schools, which are mainly located away from heavily travelled roads and typically of brick construction, have soil Pb concentrations at background levels. In general, the small city Pb burden is lower than in major urban areas. However, soils around older homes and in special locales, such as salvage yards, have Pb levels comparable to major urban areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-257
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992


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