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Pb Isotopes as Exposure Tracer in Children’s Blood

Children are the demographic most susceptible to and affected by lead (Pb) poisoning. The highest risk of elevated blood lead levels is usually correlated with living in an area dominated by pre-1950’s housing. By federal law, leaded paint was banned nationwide in 1978, but old homes with chipping, chalking, peeling, or damaged leaded paint are the leading cause today of Pb exposure in children. However, there are other natural and anthropogenic sources of lead in the environment. Disentangling geologic and anthropogenic sources of Pb exposure may help prioritize which Pb sources to remediate in the environments of children with high blood lead levels in two Kansas counties where children have among the highest blood levels in the countryl. We will compare  Pb isotope ratios found in the blood of children with high blood lead levels with the Pb isotope ratios of the sources of lead that are most likely to contribute to high childhood blood lead levels. This will help to facilitate targeted environmental remediation. We are collaborating with geoscientists at Kansas State (S. Datta group), and epidemiologists and toxicologists in the School of Public Health at TAMU (D. Han and L. Cizmas).