Research Finds Children Exposed To Lead Pollution
Story supplied by LU Press Office
Young children are still being exposed to lead pollution from vehicles according to research from Lancaster Environment Centre.
Despite the removal of lead from petrol in 1986, toxic blood levels in children continue to be reported in urban areas.
Lead is a significant neurotoxin, posing some health risk at any level of exposure, particularly with regard to brain and kidney damage, hearing impairment and cognitive development in children.
Professor Barbara Maher from the Lancaster Environment Centre, Catherine Moore from the University of East Anglia and Dr Juergen Matzka from the Danish Meteorological Institute analysed roadside tree leaves from a dual carriageway with 30,000 vehicles a day.
They found that concentrations of lead and iron particles were highest at the height of a small child - 0.3m - and also at adult head height which is between 1.5 and 2m. This means that monitoring station collectors placed at 3m above the surface significantly under-estimate kerbside, near-surface lead concentrations. These results indicate that vulnerable groups, especially young children, continue to be exposed to fine, lead- and iron-rich, vehicle-derived particulates.
High levels of trace metals are implicated in lung disease and central nervous system disorders ranging from learning disorders to dementia and possibly even Alzheimer's disease.
Critically, highest pollutant values occurred on tree leaves next to uphill rather than downhill road lanes.
Professor Barbara Maher said her research had shown that roadside trees improve health by protecting people from pollution.
"Urban and roadside trees may be an under-used resource both in terms of acting as natural 'pollution monitors' and actively screening people, especially, children and the already ill, from the damaging health effects of particle pollution."
Fri 21 November 2008
Lancaster Physics graduates have produced an excellent description of the use of scientific method in the search for the Higgs Boson.
Fri 27 February 2015
Congratulations to fourth year Physics student, Jorden Senior, for winning first prize for his blog entry into The Ogden Trust’s annual ‘Blogden’ competition.
Fri 20 February 2015
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E Smith, recently visited CERN, to see the important research being conducted by Lancaster staff. Joined by Professor Peter Ratoff, Professor Roger Jones and Dr Graeme Burt who are leading CERN based projects, Professor Smith was given a VIP tour of CERN including the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and the ATLAS Collaboration visitor centre.
Fri 20 February 2015
Lancaster University is enhancing its position as a global leader in cyber security research by agreeing links with Japan’s national ICT institute.
Wed 11 February 2015