Lead pollution of coastal sediments by ceramic waste
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© 2018 Ceramic fragments and fractionated (<2 mm) sediment have been sampled from two beaches in southwest England, along with sediment from a control beach where ceramic waste was lacking. Analysis of the glazed ceramic surfaces by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry returned concentrations of Pb up to 729,000 mg kg−1, while XRF analysis of sediment samples revealed high but heterogeneous concentrations of Pb at the two sites impacted by ceramic waste (median = 292 and 737 mg kg−1) compared with the control beach (median ~ 20 mg kg−1). These observations are attributed to the disposal of contemporary and historical ceramic products, and the subsequent attrition of material and contamination of local sediment. Extraction of a milled ceramic composite (Pb = 2780 mg kg−1) by 1 M HCl, revealed a high (34%) environmental mobility and availability of Pb; extraction in a solution of protein, however, suggested a low (0.1%) bioaccessibility to sediment-ingesting invertebrates.
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