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Spatial distribution and speciation of lead around corroding bullets in a shooting range soil studied by micro-X-ray fluorescence and absorption spectroscopy.

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, CH-8952 Schlieren, Switzerland.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.26). 08/2005; 39(13):4808-15. DOI: 10.1021/es0482740
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We investigated the spatial distribution and speciation of Pb in the weathering crust and soil surrounding corroding metallic Pb bullets in a shooting range soil. The soil had a neutral pH, loamy texture, and was highly contaminated with Pb, with total Pb concentrations in the surface soil up to 68 000 mg kg(-1). Undisturbed soil samples containing corroding bullets were collected and embedded in resin, and polished sections were prepared for micro-X-ray fluorescence (micro-XRF) elemental mapping and micro-X-ray absorption near edge structure (micro-XANES) spectroscopy. Bullet weathering crust material was separated from the metallic Pb cores and analyzed by powder X-ray diffraction analysis. Our results show a steep decrease in total Pb concentrations from the bullet weathering crust into the surrounding soil matrix. The weathering crust consisted of a mixture of litharge [alpha-PbO], hydrocerussite [Pb3(CO3)2-(OH)2], and cerussite [PbCO3], with litharge dominating near the metallic Pb core and cerussite dominating in the outer crust, which is in contact with the soil matrix. On the basis of these results and thermodynamic considerations, we propose that the transition of Pb species after oxidation of Pb(O) to Pb(II) follows the sequence litharge --> hydrocerussite --> cerussite. Consequently, the solubility of cerussite limits the activity of Pb2+ in the soil solution in contact with weathering bullets to < or =1.28 x 10(-6) at pH 7, assuming that the CO2 partial pressure (PCO2) in the soil is equal or larger than in the atmosphere (PCO2 > or = 0.000 35 atm).

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