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Historic legacy of lead pollution persists despite regulatory efforts
Date:2/16/2013

ination can be detected even in "pristine" environments such as the Arctic and the Swiss Alps, Flegal said.

In addition, consumer products contaminated with lead continue to enter the U.S. from other countries through global trade. These include some foods, health products, and children's toys. Just last year, U.S. customs officials seized 1,400 Halloween pirate costumes imported from China that contained 11 times the allowable level of lead.

Unlike organic pollutants, lead never degrades. To illustrate the persistence of lead in the environment, Flegal cites a 2005 study showing that 90 percent of the current atmospheric lead pollution in the Los Angeles basin originally came from leaded gasoline. Lead particles continue to be deposited on the ground and resuspended into the air decades after their original source was eliminated. Studies by Flegal and others also show that forest fires in California remobilize lead that was deposited in soils decades ago.

"It will take decades to centuries to purge these historic depositions from the environment," Flegal said.


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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

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