Lead concentrations in soil, sediment and clam samples from the Pungo River peatland area of North Carolina, USA.
Lead (Pb) concentrations were measured in samples of peat soils, sediments and clams (Rangia cuneata) collected from the Pungo River region of coastal North Carolina. In peat soils, mean Pb concentrations (dry weight +/- 1 SD) were significantly higher (p<0.05) in surface samples (12.8microg g(-1)+/-7.6) than in samples from depths of 20 cm (2.7microg g(-1)+/-2.7) or 1 m (3.6microg g(-1)+/-3.6). Mean Pb concentrations in surface sediments from canals draining peatlands and from the Pungo River which receives this drainage ranged from 0.1microg g(-1)+/-0.1 to 7.0microg g(-1)+/-0.6. These Pb concentrations are similar to values reported in other studies for areas considered uncontaminated. Fractionation analysis revealed that the majority of the Pb in the peat and sediment samples was associated with the residual fraction, with lesser amounts in the organically-bound fraction, and generally negligible amounts in the water-soluble fraction. These results indicate that the bulk of the Pb in the soils and sediments of this area is relatively immobile and non-bioavailabe. This is supported by the relatively low concentrations of Pb (0.2-0.5 microg g(-1), dry weight) observed in soft tissues of R. cuneata collected from the Pungo River.
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