Spatial-temporal association of soil Pb and children's blood Pb in the Detroit Tri-County Area of Michigan (USA).

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2020-08-27

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Abstract

Lead is a well-known toxicant associated with numerous chronic diseases. Curtailing industrial emissions, leaded paint, lead in food, and banning highway use of leaded gasoline effectively decreased children's exposure. In New Orleans, irrespective of Hurricane Katrina flooding, lead declined concurrently in topsoil and children's blood lead. We postulate that topsoil lead and blood lead decreases are associated and common in U.S. cities. This study tests that concept. A small 2002 soil lead survey of 8 Detroit Tri-County Area census tracts was repeated in October 2019. Between 2002 and 2019, Detroit median soil lead decreased from 183 to 92 mg/kg (or 5.4 mg/kg/yr.) and declined in Pontiac from 93 to 68 mg/kg (or 1.4 mg/kg/yr.). Median soil lead remained ∼10 mg/kg in outlying communities. Median soil lead (in mg/kg) in communities at < 21 km compared to ≥ 21 km from central Detroit, respectively, decreased from 183 to 33 (P-value 10-12) in 2002 and from 92 to 35 (P-value 10-07) in 2019. Children's lead exposures were highest in Detroit (population 0.7 million in 2010) and lower by more than half in Pontiac (population 60 thousand in 2010). Between 2002 and 2018, children with blood lead ≥ 4.5 μg/dL in Detroit declined from 44% to 5%, and in Pontiac from 17% to 2%. The most vulnerable children live in the most lead contaminated communities. To meet the goal of primary prevention for children, along with other efforts, this study supports landscaping with low lead soil to reduce exposure in lead contaminated communities.

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10.1016/j.envres.2020.110112

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Mielke, Howard W, Christopher R Gonzales, Eric T Powell, Aila Shah, Kenneth J Berry and Daniel D Richter (2020). Spatial-temporal association of soil Pb and children's blood Pb in the Detroit Tri-County Area of Michigan (USA). Environ Res. p. 110112. 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110112 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21398.

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Scholars@Duke

Richter

Daniel D. Richter

Professor in the Division of Earth and Climate Science

Richter’s research and teaching links soils with ecosystems and the wider environment, most recently Earth scientists’ Critical Zone.  He focuses on how humanity is transforming Earth’s soils from natural to human-natural systems, specifically how land-uses alter soil processes and properties on time scales of decades, centuries, and millennia.  Richter's book, Understanding Soil Change (Cambridge University Press), co-authored with his former PhD student Daniel Markewitz (Professor at University of Georgia), explores a legacy of soil change across the Southern Piedmont of North America, from the acidic soils of primary hardwood forests that covered the region until 1800, through the marked transformations affected by long-cultivated cotton, to contemporary soils of rapidly growing and intensively managed pine forests.  Richter and colleagues work to expand the concept of soil as the full biogeochemical weathering system of the Earth’s crust, ie, the Earth’s belowground Critical Zone, which can be tens of meters deep.  The research examines decadal to millennial changes in the chemistry and cycling of soil C, N, P, Ca, K, Mg, and trace elements B, Fe, Mn, Cu, Be, Zr, and Zn across full soil profiles as deep at 30-m.  Since 1988, Richter has worked at and directed the Long-Term Calhoun Soil-Ecosystem Experiment (LTSE) in the Piedmont of South Carolina, a collaborative study with the USDA Forest Service that quantifies how soils form as natural bodies and are transformed by human action, and a study that has grown to become an international model for such long-term soil and ecosystem studies.  In 2005, Richter and students initiated the first comprehensive international inventory project of the world’s LTSEs, using an advanced-format website that has networked metadata from 250 LTSEs.  The LTSEs project has held three workshops at Duke University, NCSU's Center for Environmental Farming Systems, and the USDA Forest Service's Calhoun Experimental Forest and Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, hosting representatives from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas.  Richter's 60-year old Long Term Calhoun Soil and Ecosystem Experiment is linked to similar experiments and platforms around the world via the ‘Long-Term Soil-Ecosystem Experiments Global Inventory’, assembled by Dan Richter, Pete Smith, and Mike Hofmockel."He is an active member of the International Commission on Stratigraphy’s Working Group on the Anthropocene.  Richter has written in the peer-reviewed literature about all of these projects, and in November 2014 his soils research at the Calhoun and his soils teaching were featured in Science magazine.


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