The effects of the urban built environment on the spatial distribution of lead in residential soils

K. Schwarz, Steward T.A. Pickett, Richard G. Lathrop, Kathleen C. Weathers, Richard V. Pouyat, Mary L. Cadenasso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lead contamination of urban residential soils is a public health concern. Consequently, there is a need to delineate hotspots in the landscape to identify risk and facilitate remediation. Land use is a good predictor of some environmental pollutants. However, in the case of soil lead, research has shown that land use is not a useful proxy. We hypothesize that soil lead is related to both individual landscape features at the parcel scale and the landscape context in which parcels are embedded. We sampled soil lead on 61 residential parcels in Baltimore, Maryland using field-portable x-ray fluorescence. Thirty percent of parcels had average lead concentrations that exceeded the USEPA limit of 400 ppm and 53% had at least one reading that exceeded 400 ppm. Results indicate that soil lead is strongly associated with housing age, distance to roadways, and on a parcel scale, distance to built structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume163
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Keywords

  • Baltimore
  • Field-portable XRF
  • Lead
  • Spatial heterogeneity
  • Urban soil

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