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Pb pollution from leaded gasoline in South America in the context of a 2000-year metallurgical history.

Eichler A, Gramlich G, Kellerhals T, Tobler L, Schwikowski M - Sci Adv (2015)

Bottom Line: The ice core Pb deposition history revealed enhanced Pb enrichment factors (EFs) due to metallurgical processing for silver production during periods of the Tiwanaku/Wari culture (AD 450-950), the Inca empires (AD 1450-1532), colonial times (AD 1532-1900), and tin production at the beginning of the 20th century.After the 1960s, Pb EFs increased by a factor of 3 compared to the emission level from metal production, which we attribute to gasoline-related Pb emissions.Our results show that anthropogenic Pb pollution levels from road traffic in South America exceed those of any historical metallurgy in the last two millennia, even in regions with exceptional high local metallurgical activity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Paul Scherrer Institut, CH-5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland. ; Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
Exploitation of the extensive polymetallic deposits of the Andean Altiplano in South America since precolonial times has caused substantial emissions of neurotoxic lead (Pb) into the atmosphere; however, its historical significance compared to recent Pb pollution from leaded gasoline is not yet resolved. We present a comprehensive Pb emission history for the last two millennia for South America, based on a continuous, high-resolution, ice core record from Illimani glacier. Illimani is the highest mountain of the eastern Bolivian Andes and is located at the northeastern margin of the Andean Altiplano. The ice core Pb deposition history revealed enhanced Pb enrichment factors (EFs) due to metallurgical processing for silver production during periods of the Tiwanaku/Wari culture (AD 450-950), the Inca empires (AD 1450-1532), colonial times (AD 1532-1900), and tin production at the beginning of the 20th century. After the 1960s, Pb EFs increased by a factor of 3 compared to the emission level from metal production, which we attribute to gasoline-related Pb emissions. Our results show that anthropogenic Pb pollution levels from road traffic in South America exceed those of any historical metallurgy in the last two millennia, even in regions with exceptional high local metallurgical activity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Ice core Pb EF record compared to sediment core Pb concentrations from Bolivian and Peruvian lakes.Illimani Pb EF record (gray, 10-year medians; blue, 100-year low-pass filtered data) together with sediment core Pb concentrations from Laguna Lobato [orange, period AD 20–1995 (15)], Laguna Taypi Chaka [brown, period AD 4–1923 (15)], Laguna Llamacocha [black, period AD 25–2008 (21)], and Laguna Pirhuacocha [green, period AD 560–2005 (22)]. Periods of generalized Andean archaeological history together with causes of enhanced or reduced Pb deposition are marked in blue.
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Figure 3: Ice core Pb EF record compared to sediment core Pb concentrations from Bolivian and Peruvian lakes.Illimani Pb EF record (gray, 10-year medians; blue, 100-year low-pass filtered data) together with sediment core Pb concentrations from Laguna Lobato [orange, period AD 20–1995 (15)], Laguna Taypi Chaka [brown, period AD 4–1923 (15)], Laguna Llamacocha [black, period AD 25–2008 (21)], and Laguna Pirhuacocha [green, period AD 560–2005 (22)]. Periods of generalized Andean archaeological history together with causes of enhanced or reduced Pb deposition are marked in blue.

Mentions: To trace the provenance of Pb pollution at the study site, we investigated variations in Pb isotopes. Temporal changes in Pb isotopes have been successfully used to differentiate between natural and anthropogenic Pb sources (4, 5, 41). The ice core records of the isotopic ratios 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/207Pb are presented in Fig. 2. In contrast to the mentioned studies, there are no significant changes in the ice core 206Pb/207Pb ratio during the entire period. This is due to a similar 206Pb/207Pb ratio in local soils and ores in Bolivia (42) (Fig. 2). Likewise, the 208Pb/207Pb ratio does not show significant temporal variations, except after ~AD 1960, when the 208Pb/207Pb ratio was lower because of an input of nonlocal Pb primarily from leaded gasoline (see below). Thus, the Pb isotopic fingerprint during the period AD 0–1960 cannot be used to discriminate between Pb pollution from mining activities and natural soil dust input. To distinguish the anthropogenic signal from lithogenic Pb deposition, we calculated Pb EFs based on local background composition (Fig. 3). Contrary to the Pb concentration records, Pb EFs are significantly enhanced during the period ~AD 450–950 and are close to background values during the Medieval Climate Optimum ~AD 1000–1400. A parallel increase of both EFs and Pb concentrations from the end of the 15th century until the 20th century points to a dominant anthropogenic Pb source during that time.


Pb pollution from leaded gasoline in South America in the context of a 2000-year metallurgical history.

Eichler A, Gramlich G, Kellerhals T, Tobler L, Schwikowski M - Sci Adv (2015)

Ice core Pb EF record compared to sediment core Pb concentrations from Bolivian and Peruvian lakes.Illimani Pb EF record (gray, 10-year medians; blue, 100-year low-pass filtered data) together with sediment core Pb concentrations from Laguna Lobato [orange, period AD 20–1995 (15)], Laguna Taypi Chaka [brown, period AD 4–1923 (15)], Laguna Llamacocha [black, period AD 25–2008 (21)], and Laguna Pirhuacocha [green, period AD 560–2005 (22)]. Periods of generalized Andean archaeological history together with causes of enhanced or reduced Pb deposition are marked in blue.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4643815&req=5

Figure 3: Ice core Pb EF record compared to sediment core Pb concentrations from Bolivian and Peruvian lakes.Illimani Pb EF record (gray, 10-year medians; blue, 100-year low-pass filtered data) together with sediment core Pb concentrations from Laguna Lobato [orange, period AD 20–1995 (15)], Laguna Taypi Chaka [brown, period AD 4–1923 (15)], Laguna Llamacocha [black, period AD 25–2008 (21)], and Laguna Pirhuacocha [green, period AD 560–2005 (22)]. Periods of generalized Andean archaeological history together with causes of enhanced or reduced Pb deposition are marked in blue.
Mentions: To trace the provenance of Pb pollution at the study site, we investigated variations in Pb isotopes. Temporal changes in Pb isotopes have been successfully used to differentiate between natural and anthropogenic Pb sources (4, 5, 41). The ice core records of the isotopic ratios 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/207Pb are presented in Fig. 2. In contrast to the mentioned studies, there are no significant changes in the ice core 206Pb/207Pb ratio during the entire period. This is due to a similar 206Pb/207Pb ratio in local soils and ores in Bolivia (42) (Fig. 2). Likewise, the 208Pb/207Pb ratio does not show significant temporal variations, except after ~AD 1960, when the 208Pb/207Pb ratio was lower because of an input of nonlocal Pb primarily from leaded gasoline (see below). Thus, the Pb isotopic fingerprint during the period AD 0–1960 cannot be used to discriminate between Pb pollution from mining activities and natural soil dust input. To distinguish the anthropogenic signal from lithogenic Pb deposition, we calculated Pb EFs based on local background composition (Fig. 3). Contrary to the Pb concentration records, Pb EFs are significantly enhanced during the period ~AD 450–950 and are close to background values during the Medieval Climate Optimum ~AD 1000–1400. A parallel increase of both EFs and Pb concentrations from the end of the 15th century until the 20th century points to a dominant anthropogenic Pb source during that time.

Bottom Line: The ice core Pb deposition history revealed enhanced Pb enrichment factors (EFs) due to metallurgical processing for silver production during periods of the Tiwanaku/Wari culture (AD 450-950), the Inca empires (AD 1450-1532), colonial times (AD 1532-1900), and tin production at the beginning of the 20th century.After the 1960s, Pb EFs increased by a factor of 3 compared to the emission level from metal production, which we attribute to gasoline-related Pb emissions.Our results show that anthropogenic Pb pollution levels from road traffic in South America exceed those of any historical metallurgy in the last two millennia, even in regions with exceptional high local metallurgical activity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Paul Scherrer Institut, CH-5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland. ; Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
Exploitation of the extensive polymetallic deposits of the Andean Altiplano in South America since precolonial times has caused substantial emissions of neurotoxic lead (Pb) into the atmosphere; however, its historical significance compared to recent Pb pollution from leaded gasoline is not yet resolved. We present a comprehensive Pb emission history for the last two millennia for South America, based on a continuous, high-resolution, ice core record from Illimani glacier. Illimani is the highest mountain of the eastern Bolivian Andes and is located at the northeastern margin of the Andean Altiplano. The ice core Pb deposition history revealed enhanced Pb enrichment factors (EFs) due to metallurgical processing for silver production during periods of the Tiwanaku/Wari culture (AD 450-950), the Inca empires (AD 1450-1532), colonial times (AD 1532-1900), and tin production at the beginning of the 20th century. After the 1960s, Pb EFs increased by a factor of 3 compared to the emission level from metal production, which we attribute to gasoline-related Pb emissions. Our results show that anthropogenic Pb pollution levels from road traffic in South America exceed those of any historical metallurgy in the last two millennia, even in regions with exceptional high local metallurgical activity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus