Incineration not cars may be main source of atmospheric lead

It has been widely assumed that leaded petrol was the main sources of atmospheric lead in urban environments, although most air quality data only goes back two to three decades. However a new study analysing sediments in Central Park Lake, New York City, shows that depositions of lead, zinc and tin throughout this century closely resemble the history of waste incineration in the city. The report, in this month’s Environmental Science and Technology suggests that in fact solid waste incineration has been the dominant source of atmospheric lead in urban centres in the US and Europe.

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