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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 5, p. 1488-1494
    Received: Sept 13, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): kurtz@bu.edu
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Dendrochemical Record of Historical Lead Contamination Sources, Wells G&H Superfund Site, Woburn, Massachusetts

  1. Aaron Burnetta,
  2. Andrew C. Kurtz *a,
  3. Daniel Brabanderb and
  4. Mark Shailerc
  1. a Dep. of Earth Sciences, Boston Univ., Boston, MA 02215
    b Geosciences Dep., Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481
    c Dep. of Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Univ. of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA 02125


Laser-ablation inductively coupled-plasma mass-spectrometry analysis of red oak (Quercus rubra) from a well documented heavy metal contaminated United States Environmental Protection Agency superfund site in Woburn, Massachusetts reveals decade-long trends in Pb contaminant sources. Lead isotope ratios (207Pb/206Pb and 208Pb/206Pb) in tree rings plot along a linear trend bracketed by several local and regional contamination sources. Statistically significant interannual variations in 207Pb/206Pb suggest that atmospheric Pb is rapidly incorporated into wood, with minimal mobility subsequent to deposition in annual growth rings. We interpret the decadal trends in our record as a changing mixture of local pollution sources and gasoline-derived Pb. Between 1940 and 1970, Pb was predominantly derived from remobilization of local industrial Pb sources. An abrupt shift in 207Pb/206Pb may indicate that local Pb sources were overwhelmed by gasoline-derived Pb during the peak of leaded gasoline emissions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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Copyright © 2007. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyAmerican Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America