Faculty Advisor

Dr. James Montgomery


Lead exposure through soil poses potential health risks to those in areas with higher soil-Pb levels, specifically urban areas. The soil-lead concentrations recommended by the EPA are based on measurement of total lead concentration, yet only a percentage of the total lead can actually be absorbed into the body. The percentage of lead in soil that can be absorbed into the blood through ingestion is reffered to as bioaccessible lead and can be a more accurate way of measuring potential dangers of lead in soils. This study measured the amount of bioaccessible lead in the community areas of West Elsdon, Garfield Ridge, and Lakeview through comparing a modified physiologically based extraction test (PBET) and Mehlich-3 digestion method. Both methods of digestion were compared based on potential accuracy, correlation, and procedural efficiency. Results showed that the Lakeview soils had statistically significantly higher bioaccessible lead content in ppm than Garfield Ridge and West Elsdon, regardless of extraction method (P < .0001). No statistically significant difference was seen between Garfield Ridge/West Elsdon and Lakeview when looking at bioaccessible Pb percentage extracted (P = 0.409). Other results showed a statistically significant difference in bioaccessible Pb content extracted in both in ppm and bioaccessible Pb percentage between extraction methods (P = .0488 and < .0001, respectively).