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ABSTRACT: Environmental occurrence of alkyllead compounds, both of molecular species, e.g., tetraalkyllead, and ionic species, e.g., dialkyllead and trialkyllead, is believed to be derived mainly from anthropogenic sources such as effluents of alkyllead production plants and from slow degradation of tetraalkyllead in the environment. The present study describes a survey for the occurrence of tetraalkyllead, trialkyllead, dialkyllead, and Pb(II) (R = Me, Et) in water, surface microlayer, fish, and sediments from 29 stations in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, including the western basin of Lake Erie. Results indicated that triethyllead and diethlylead compounds have been found for the first time in fish and surface microlayer in St. Clair River near Corunna where a production plant is located. About 48% of the surface microlayer samples contained various alkyllead compounds whereas only one water sample taken from the St. Clair River was found to contain alkyllead. Alkyllead compounds were found in several species of fish caught in the St. Clair River, with northern pike containing the highest concentration of alkyllead (0.173 μg/g) followed by white sucker, carp, and walleye. The concentrations of alkyllead in some individual fish reached the p.p.m. level which is considered highly hazardous for consumption although health criteria for alkyllead are not yet available. The ratios of alkyllead to total lead ranged from 0% for yellow perch and brown trout to 56% for carp.
National Water Research InstituteFountain Valley, California, United States