Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 677–692 | Cite as

Garden soil and house dust as exposure media for lead uptake in the mining village of Stratoni, Greece

  • Ariadne Argyraki
Original Paper


The relationships between two exposure media, garden soil and house dust, were studied for Pb uptake in Stratoni village in northern Greece, an industrial area of mining and processing of sulphide ore. Lead data for the two media were assessed in terms of total and bioaccessible content, measurement and geochemical variability, and mineralogical composition. It was found that total Pb was enriched in house dust samples by a factor of 2 on average. Total Pb concentration in soil samples had a maximum of 2,040 mg/kg and reached a maximum of 7,000 mg/kg in house dust samples. The estimated variability due to measurement uncertainty was dominated by the sampling process, and the proportion of sampling variance was greater for soil samples, indicating a higher degree of Pb heterogeneity in soil on the given spatial scale of sampling strata. Although the same general spatial trend was observed for both sampling media with decreasing Pb concentration by increasing distance from the ore-processing plant, Pb in dust samples displayed the highest concentrations within a 300–600-m zone from the ore-processing facility. The significant differences which were observed in Pb speciation between the studied media were explained by differences in mineralogical composition of outdoor soil and indoor dust. Lead-enriched Fe and Mn oxides predominated in soil samples while fine galena grains (<10–20 μm diameter) were the major Pb-bearing phase in dust samples. The integrated exposure uptake biokinetic model was used to predict the risk of elevated blood lead levels in children of Stratoni. Model prediction indicated an average probability of 61 % for blood-Pb to exceed 10 μg/dl. The results underline the importance of house dust in risk assessment and highlight the effect of outdoor and indoor conditions on the fate of Pb in the particular environment of Stratoni.


Hazard characterisation Sulphide-ore processing Kassandra Mines IEUBK 



This work was partially funded by the Special Account for Research Grants, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Project No. 70/4/7624. The postgraduate students A. Plakaki and S. Nicolaou are greatly acknowledged for their involvement in sampling and laboratory analyses. V. Gazea, Director of the Environmental Monitoring Programme of Hellas Gold S.A., is thanked for the useful discussions during the research and arrangements for analysis of part of the samples in the Laboratory of Quality Control in Stratoni. G. Zagorakis of the Municipality of Stratoni is also thanked for his invaluable help during field sampling. Zafar Iqbal and Terpsi Kamtsiou are thanked for improving the English grammar and style of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic Geology and Geochemistry, Faculty of Geology and GeoenvironmentUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

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