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Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Dec 1;45(23):9874-82. doi: 10.1021/es2020428. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Asian industrial lead inputs to the North Pacific evidenced by lead concentrations and isotopic compositions in surface waters and aerosols.

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Institute of Marine Sciences, 1156 High Street, University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95064, United States.


Recent trends of atmospheric lead deposition to the North Pacific were investigated with analyses of lead in aerosols and surface waters collected on the fourth Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Contaminant Baseline Survey from May to June, 2002. Lead concentrations of the aerosols varied by 2 orders of magnitude (0.1-26.4 pmol/m(3)) due in part to variations in dust deposition during the cruise. The ranges in lead aerosol enrichment factors relative to iron (1-119) and aluminum (3-168) were similar, evidencing the transport of Asian industrial lead aerosols across the North Pacific. The oceanic deposition of some of those aerosols was substantiated by the gradient of lead concentrations of North Pacific waters, which varied 3-fold (32.7-103.5 pmol/kg), were highest along with the Asian margin of the basin, and decreased eastward. The hypothesized predominance of Asian industrial lead inputs to the North Pacific was further corroborated by the lead isotopic composition of ocean surface waters ((206)Pb/(207)Pb = 1.157-1.169; (208)Pb/(206)Pb = 2.093-2.118), which fell within the range of isotopic ratios reported in Asian aerosols that are primarily attributed to Chinese industrial lead emissions.

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