Exposure to lead, arsenic, and cadmium in an inner city neighborhood

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Title: Exposure to lead, arsenic, and cadmium in an inner city neighborhood
Author: Amos, Molly
Abstract: AMOS, MOLLY. MASTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT. EXPOSURE TO LEAD, ARSENIC, AND CADMIUM IN AN INNER CITY NEIGHBORHOOD Background: Chronic exposure to low levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead may result in long‐term health issues for humans, especially children and fetuses. Three previous studies have demonstrated higher levels of these toxic metals in blood and urine samples of residents of North Carolina, with two of those studies focused on an area in Durham County populated by residents of a lower socioeconomic status. The objective of this study was to independently confirm the findings of previous studies and, ultimately, to provide the information needed to inform local leaders of this issue so that they can work with researchers to mitigate future health impacts for these residents. Methods: Arsenic, cadmium, and lead were measured in blood, urine, hand wipe, dust (vacuum and wipe), water, and soil samples for 38 residents. Correlation analyses were conducted to evaluate the potential route of exposure to the toxic metals. Results: Median levels and interquartile of blood concentrations (µg/dL) for 36 participants for cadmium were 0.03 (0.02–0.09), for arsenic were 0.04 (0.12–0.19), and for lead were 0.69 (0.48–1.10). Median levels and interquartile of urine concentrations (µg/L) for 37 participants for cadmium were 0.36 (0.25– 0.59), for arsenic were 8.08 (5.26–15.18), and for lead were 1.63 (0.37–7.08). Soil samples from 35 residences showed levels of cadmium ranging from 0.15 to 2.54 µg/g (0.67 median, 0.40‐1.12 interquartile) and lead ranging from 26.79 to 1,610.10 µg/g (100.59 median, 57.93‐242.74 interquartile). Wipe (n=37) and vacuum (n=17) dust samples showed cadmium levels ranging from 0.96 to 258.84 µg/L (8.05 median, 2.46‐85.21 interquartile) and 0.17 to 3.14 µg/g (1.11 median, 0.85‐1.57 interquartile), respectively. Wipe (n=37) and vacuum (n=17) dust samples showed lead levels ranging from 15.97 to 35,740.25 µg/L (447.03 median, 149.63‐2,121.69 interquartile) and 21.23 to 334.65 µg/g (54.69 median, 37.87‐157.71 interquartile), respectively. Levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead in water samples from 36 residences were well below acceptance levels for human health safety. Conclusions: Our data support the previously conducted studies demonstrating elevated urine and blood concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, and lead within areas of North Carolina, specifically Durham County. The exposure pathway remains uncertain but is likely contaminated soil and dust ingested by the residents. This contamination may contribute to developmental and cardiometabolic issues within this subpopulation, particularly among children and fetuses. Public health officials and the research community should continue to assess this situation, while community leaders should take action to educate and inform the residents.
Date: 2017-05-10
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.20/34303

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