Journal article Open Access

Lead Contamination of Soil in Baghdad, Iraq

Ahmed, Rehab T.; Najimaldin, Mohamad Ahmed

Lead (Pb) levels in soils for different sites in Baghdad were determined to assess the soil contamination by lead in the city. Around sixty-three soil samples were collected as indicator of Pb pollution from different sources. The mean Pb concentrations in the soils ranging from 15 mg Pb/kg at the bus station, 800-2300 mg Pb/kg in the city center, and 8-350 mg Pb/kg along the highway. Value up to 9350 mg Pb/kg found in the soils near the batteries factory.

The mean Pb concentrations in the city centre were substantially higher than values found in other places; they were also higher than the standards for soil in residential areas and in playgrounds for children. Pb soil concentrations at the downwind sides were some 60% higher than the upwind area. Bioavailable Pb (extracted with 0.04 M Na2EDTA solution) was also determined in this study. This parameter showed significant correlation with total Pb.

Control measures should be adopted to reduce emissions of mobile-exhaust Pb and lead smelters. Nearby pollution sources such as highways, major streets, and batteries factories should be considered when locating new, schools and land use projects. At the same time, vegetable production and animal grazing should also be avoided in areas near highways.

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