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October, 2006
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Food Analysis:

Lead Analysis of Soil Using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy

JoVE 10021

Source: Laboratories of Margaret Workman and Kimberly Frye - Depaul University

Lead occurs naturally in soil, in levels ranging from 10-50 ppm. However, with the widespread use of lead in paint and gasoline in addition to contamination by industry, urban soils often have concentrations of lead significantly greater than background levels – up to 10,000 ppm in some places. Ongoing problems arise from the fact that lead does not biodegrade, and instead remains in the soil. Serious health risks are associated with lead poisoning, where children are particularly at risk. Millions of children in the U.S. are exposed to soil containing lead. This exposure can cause developmental and behavioral problems in children. These problems include learning disabilities, inattention, delayed growth, and brain damage. The Environmental Protection Agency has set a standard for lead in soil at 400 ppm for play areas and 1,200 ppm for non-play areas. Lead is also of concern in soil, when it’s used for gardening. Plants take up lead from the soil. Therefore, vegetables or herbs grown in contaminated soil can lead to lead poisoning. In addition, contaminated soil particles can be breathed in while gardening or brought into the house on clothing and footwear. It is recommended that s

 Environmental Science

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