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Soil Ingestion Estimates for Children in Anaconda Using Trace Element Concentrations in Different Particle Size Fractions

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This investigation assessed the effect of soil particle size on soil ingestion estimates of children residing at a superfund site. Earlier research indicated that wide intertracer variability in soil ingestion estimates are based on soil concentrations with a soil particle size of 0 to 2 µm was markedly reduced when the estimates were based on soil tracer concentrations for a soil particle size of 0-250 µm. The reduced intertracer variation was principally attributed to changes in soil concentrations of only three of the soil tracers ( i.e. , Ce, La, Nd) which became concentrated in the finer particle size by approximately 2.5 to 4.0-fold. It was hypothesized that the intertracer agreement in soil ingestion estimates may continue to improve if the estimates are based on concentrations of tracers at finer particle sizes assuming that children ingest finer particles and that the above three tracers would continue to be further concentrated in the finer sized soil particles. The principal findings indicate: 1. The soil concentrations of Al, Si, and Ti do not increase at the two finer particle size ranges measured. 2. The soil concentrations of Ce, La, and Nd increased by a factor 2.5 to 4.0 in the 100 to 250 µm particle size range when compared with the 0 to 2 µm particle size range. No further substantial increase in concentration was observed in the 53 to 100 |jm particle size range. 3. The soil ingestion estimates are consistently and markedly changed only between the estimates based in 0 to 2 µm and 100 to 250 µm for Ce, La, and Nd. These changes reduced the intertracer variability in estimating soil ingestion, suggesting that the children eat finer soil particle sizes. 4. Because the particle sizes for all tracers (except Zr) were only modestly affected at the 53 to 100 µm range, it was not possible to confidently resolve the particle size of soil ingested by the children. 5. Residual intertracer variability in soil ingestion estimates based on Ce, La, Nd are likely to be significantly affected by non-food, non-soil sources of these tracers ( i.e. , source error). 6. Soil ingestion estimates of this study will be more reliable when derived from the finer-sized particles.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Publication date: 1999-06-01

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