Use of simulated epithelial lung fluid in assessing the human health risk of Pb in urban street dust

John Dean, Nwabueze Elom, Jane Entwistle

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35 Citations (Scopus)
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In many urban contexts, non-dietary Pb exposure from street dusts may add to the overall exposure burden, and the presence of high total Pb content is well documented in urban street dust from across the globe. Given the increasing recognition of the potential adverse health effects from both the quantity and the chemical and physical composition of the inhaled fraction, and the recognition that it is the soluble fraction rather than the total element content that has more direct links to health effects, attention has focused in this study on the human health risks via this exposure pathway. In order to investigate the environmental exposure to Pb from the inhalation of urban street dusts, a newly developed in vitro simulated epithelium lung fluid (SELF) has been applied to the <10 μm fraction of urban street dusts. In this context, 21 urban street dust samples, across five UK cities, were selected based on their high pseudo-total Pb content. The work revealed that inhalation bioaccessibility, and hence inhalation dose, varied across the cities but was generally found to be low (<10%). Indeed, the lung bioaccessibility was far lower (% lung bioaccessibility ranged from 1.2 to 8.8) than is currently applied in two of the most commonly employed risk assessment models i.e. the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic model (IEUBK, USA) and the Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment model (CLEA, UK). The estimated inhalation dose (for adults) calculated from the PM10 bioaccessibility ranged from 7 ng kg− 1 BW day− 1 (Edinburgh) to 1.3 ng kg− 1 BW day− 1 (Liverpool). The results indicate a low potential inhalation bioaccessibility for Pb in these urban street dust samples when modelled using the neutral pH conditions of the SELF.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-395
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date23 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


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