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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

Colonial drawings of silver-smelting furnaces (huayras) in the Bolivian Andes.Left: Watercolor painting from the late 16th century showing three huayras with flames emerging from the orifices in the walls; two huayras smoke and are tended by individuals in indigenous ponchos and Spanish-style hats, from the Atlas of Sea Charts, courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York. Right: After Barba 1640. [from (56)]
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Figure 4: Colonial drawings of silver-smelting furnaces (huayras) in the Bolivian Andes.Left: Watercolor painting from the late 16th century showing three huayras with flames emerging from the orifices in the walls; two huayras smoke and are tended by individuals in indigenous ponchos and Spanish-style hats, from the Atlas of Sea Charts, courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York. Right: After Barba 1640. [from (56)]

Mentions: At the end of the 15th century, Illimani Pb EFs started to rise again coinciding with the expansion of the Inca Empire into the Altiplano from ~AD 1450. The Incas extracted high amounts of silver-enriched metal from ore with the use of small wind-driven furnaces (huayras or huayrachinas) (18, 56, 57) (Fig. 4). Huayras were easily and cheaply built from clay and well adapted to local resources, that is, the strong winds prevailing in the Altiplano and the scarce fuel supply (56, 58). Considered together with archaeological evidence (57), the Illimani Pb EF increase in the period AD 1450–1532 points to a continuous metallurgical technology application at the Altiplano in the Inca Empire until colonial influence. An indication of intensified smelting at Potosí after AD 1400 was also observed in sediment Pb records of Laguna Lobato and Taypi Chaka in Bolivia and Laguna Llamacocha and Pirhuacocha in Peru (14, 15) (Fig. 3).


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)

Colonial drawings of silver-smelting furnaces (huayras) in the Bolivian Andes.Left: Watercolor painting from the late 16th century showing three huayras with flames emerging from the orifices in the walls; two huayras smoke and are tended by individuals in indigenous ponchos and Spanish-style hats, from the Atlas of Sea Charts, courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York. Right: After Barba 1640. [from (56)]
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 4: Colonial drawings of silver-smelting furnaces (huayras) in the Bolivian Andes.Left: Watercolor painting from the late 16th century showing three huayras with flames emerging from the orifices in the walls; two huayras smoke and are tended by individuals in indigenous ponchos and Spanish-style hats, from the Atlas of Sea Charts, courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York. Right: After Barba 1640. [from (56)]
Mentions: At the end of the 15th century, Illimani Pb EFs started to rise again coinciding with the expansion of the Inca Empire into the Altiplano from ~AD 1450. The Incas extracted high amounts of silver-enriched metal from ore with the use of small wind-driven furnaces (huayras or huayrachinas) (18, 56, 57) (Fig. 4). Huayras were easily and cheaply built from clay and well adapted to local resources, that is, the strong winds prevailing in the Altiplano and the scarce fuel supply (56, 58). Considered together with archaeological evidence (57), the Illimani Pb EF increase in the period AD 1450–1532 points to a continuous metallurgical technology application at the Altiplano in the Inca Empire until colonial influence. An indication of intensified smelting at Potosí after AD 1400 was also observed in sediment Pb records of Laguna Lobato and Taypi Chaka in Bolivia and Laguna Llamacocha and Pirhuacocha in Peru (14, 15) (Fig. 3).

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