Journal of Atmospheric Pollution
ISSN (Print): 2381-2982 ISSN (Online): 2381-2990 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/jap Editor-in-chief: Ki-Hyun Kim
Open Access
Journal Browser
Go
Journal of Atmospheric Pollution. 2017, 5(2), 47-54
DOI: 10.12691/jap-5-2-2
Open AccessArticle

Airborne Lead in El Paso, Texas, USA

Paz L.M.1, Amaya M.A.2, Clague J.W.3, Li W-W4, Olvera H.A.2, Berwick M.5, Burchiel S.W.6 and Pingitore N.E.1,

1Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA

2School of Nursing, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA

3Environmental Engineering & Public Health (E2PH), LLC, El Paso, Texas, USA

4Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA

5Department of Internal Medicine and Dermatology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA

6College of Pharmacy, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Pub. Date: August 12, 2017

Cite this paper:
Paz L.M., Amaya M.A., Clague J.W., Li W-W, Olvera H.A., Berwick M., Burchiel S.W. and Pingitore N.E.. Airborne Lead in El Paso, Texas, USA. Journal of Atmospheric Pollution. 2017; 5(2):47-54. doi: 10.12691/jap-5-2-2

Abstract

Despite significant strides to minimize lead in our air, water, soil, food, homes, workplaces, and consumer products, sporadic and systemic lead poisoning persists in industrial societies, e.g., the contemporary Flint (Michigan, USA) municipal water tragedy. Because lead exposure is cumulative, the sum of exposure from all sources, it is important to document and update potential community or neighborhood exposure levels from such environmental compartments as air, water, soil, food, and housing. Here we present ambient airborne lead levels in El Paso, Texas, USA, parsed by particulate matter (PM) size fraction, geography, and season. Dichotomous samplers at 8 stations collected PM continuously for 1-week periods for nearly 4 years. Overall, airborne annual lead exposure throughout El Paso County is low, well within US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines. There is considerably more lead in the coarse fraction (PM10-PM2.5) than in the fine fraction (PM2.5 and lower), indicating decreased effective human exposures because the coarse fraction does not penetrate as deeply into the pulmonary system as finer particles. Re-entrained soil has previously been identified as the source of airborne lead in El Paso; the concentration of lead in the coarse PM is consistent with this observation. Seasonally, fall-winter lead levels are highest, due to PM trapping by temperature inversions, followed by spring and summer. Geospatially, higher lead levels characterize sampling stations in older and more commercial neighborhoods, also consistent with published maps of soil lead levels throughout the city and county. At present, airborne lead can be considered to be only a minor source of lead exposure for typical El Paso residents.

Keywords:
lead air pollution particulate matter El Paso

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

References:

[1]  Settle, D.M., Patterson, C.C., “Lead in albacore: Guide to lead pollution in Americans,” Science, 207 (4436). 1167-1176, 1980.
 
[2]  National Research Council, Lead in the Human Environment. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1980.
 
[3]  Needleman HL, editor. Human Lead Exposure. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1992.
 
[4]  Bryce-Smith, D., Waldron, H.A., Landrigan, P.J., Whitworth, R.H., Baloh, R.W., Lansdown, R.G., Clayton, B.E., Graham, P.J., Delves, H.T., “Blood-lead levels, behavior, and intelligence,” The Lancet, 303(7867). 1166-1168, 1974.
 
[5]  Davidson, C.I., Rabinowitz, M., “Lead in the environment: From sources to human receptors,” Human Lead Exposure, H.L. Needleman HL, ed., pp. 65-86, Boca Raton: CRC, 1992.
 
[6]  Annest, J., Dirkle, J., Makuc, C., Nesse, J., Bayse, D., et al., “Chronological trend in blood lead levels between 1976 and 1980,” New England Journal Medicine, 308. 1373-1377, 1983.
 
[7]  Needleman, H.L., Leviton, A., Bellinger, D., “Lead-associated intellectual deficits,” New England Journal Medicine, 306. 367-368, 2002.
 
[8]  ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry) “The Nature and Extent of Lead Poisoning in Children in the United States: A Report to Congress,” Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, ATSDR, 1998.
 
[9]  Bellinger, D.C., Needleman, H.L., Leviton, A., Waternaux, C., Rabinowitz, M.B,, Nichols, M.L., “Early sensory-motor development and prenatal exposure to lead,” Neurobehavioral Toxicology and Teratology, 6. 387-402, 1984.
 
[10]  CDC (Centers for Disease Control. “Lead,” https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/. [Accessed on 6/24/2017].
 
[11]  Amaya, M.A., Jolly, K.W., Pingitore, N.E., “Blood lead in the 21st Century: The sub-microgram challenge,” Journal Blood Medicine, 1. 71-78, 2010.
 
[12]  US Environmental Protection Agency 2010 Lead (Pb) Air Monitoring Requirements & 2013 Method for Determination of Lead (Pb) in Total Suspended Particulate Matter Fact Sheets US Environmental Protection Agency (2008b) Fact Sheet - Final Revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead. US Environmental Protection Agency2008bFact Sheet - Final Revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead. Available: https://www.epa.gov/lead-air-pollution/2010-lead-pb-air-monitoring-requirements-2013-method-determination-lead-pb-total. [Accessed on 5/31/2017].
 
[13]  US Environmental Protection Agency National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Lead (Pb) Fact Sheets and Additional Information. Available: https://www.epa.gov/lead-air-pollution/national-ambient-air-quality-standards-naaqs-lead-pb-fact-sheets-and-additional. [Accessed on 5/31/2017].
 
[14]  Landrigan, P.J., Gehlbach, S.H., Rosenblum, B.F., Shoults, J.M., Candelaria, R.M., Barthel, W.F., Liddle, J.A., Smerk, A.L., Staehling, N.W., Sanders, J-D., “Epidemic lead absorption near an ore smelter – The role of particulate lead,” New England Journal of Medicine, 292(3). 123-129, 1975.
 
[15]  Perales, M., Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2010.
 
[16]  Sullivan, M., Tainted Earth: Smelters, Public Health, and the Environment, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick (NJ), 2014.
 
[17]  Camacho Araujo, I.B., Airborne Lead in El Paso, Texas, 1977-1999, M.S. Thesis, The University of Texas at El Paso, 2011.
 
[18]  Barnes, B.B., Pingitore, N.E., Mackay, W., “Levels of Toxic Metals in El Paso Soils proximal to Three Potential Industrial Point Sources,” The U.S. Mexican Border Environment: Integrated Approach to Defining Particulate Matter Issues in the Paso del Norte Region, SCERP Monograph Series, no. 12, R.M. Currey, K.E. Kelley, H.L.C. Meuzelaar, and A.F. Serafim, eds., Chapter V, Section 4, 152-161, 2005.
 
[19]  Elkekli, A.R., Lead and Associated Heavy Metal Distribution, El Paso, Texas, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Texas at El Paso, 2013.
 
[20]  Pingitore Jr, N.E., Clague, J., Amaya, M.A., Maciejewska, B., Reynoso, J.J., “Urban Airborne Lead: X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Establishes Soil as Dominant Source,” Public Library of Science One (PLoS One), 4(4). e5019, 2009. http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0005019.
 
[21]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Paso,_Texas. [Accessed on 6/-01/2017].
 
[22]  https://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/airmod/data/site. [Accessed on 6/01/2017].
 
[23]  EPA Method IO-2.2, Sampling of Ambient Air for PM10 Using an Andersen Dichotomous Sampler, In Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Inorganic Compounds in Ambient Air, EPA/625/R-96/010a, Environmental Protection Development, June 1999.
 
[24]  Li, W-W., Orquiz, R., Pingitore Jr., N.E., Garcia, J.H., Espino, T.T., Gardea-Torresdey, J., Chow, J., Watson, J.W., “Analysis of temporal and spatial dichotomous PM air samples in the El Paso-Cd. Juarez air quality basin,” Journal of Air and Waste Management Association, 51, 1511-1560, 2001.
 
[25]  EPA Method IO-3.3 Determination of Metals in Ambient Particulate Matter Using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectroscopy, In Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Inorganic Compounds in Ambient Air, EPA/625/R-96/010a, Environmental Protection Development, June 1999.
 
[26]  https://www-s.nist.gov/srmors/browseMaterials.cfm?subkey=5&tableid=54. [Accessed on 6/01/2017].
 
[27]  http://www.micromatter.com/xrf.php. [Accessed on 6/01/2017].
 
[28]  South Coast Air Quality Management District (California, USA), http://www.aqmd.gov/. [Accessed on 7/17/2017].
 
[29]  US EPA, Air Data: Air Quality Data Collected at Outdoor Monitors Across the US, https://www.epa.gov/outdoor-air-quality-data. [Accessed on 7/17/2017].
 
[30]  Olvera, H.A., Garcia, M., Li, W-W., Yang, H., Amaya, M.A., Myers, O., Burchiel, S.W., Berwick, M., Pingitore, Jr., N.E., “Principal Component Analysis Optimization of a PM2.5 Land Use Regression Model with Small Monitoring Network,” Science of the Total Environment, 425. 27-34, 2012.
 
[31]  Webb, W.L., Mesometeorology at El Paso, Texas Western Press, The University of Texas at El Paso, 1971, pp. 33-36.