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Heterogeneous atmospheric chemistry of lead oxide particles with nitrogen dioxide increases lead solubility: environmental and health implications.

Environmental science & technology (2012-10-13)
Jonas Baltrusaitis, Haihan Chen, Gayan Rubasinghege, Vicki H Grassian
ABSTRACT

Heterogeneous chemistry of nitrogen dioxide with lead-containing particles is investigated to better understand lead metal mobilization in the environment. In particular, PbO particles, a model lead-containing compound due to its widespread presence as a component of lead paint and as naturally occurring minerals, massicot, and litharge, are exposed to nitrogen dioxide at different relative humidity. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) shows that upon exposure to nitrogen dioxide the surface of PbO particles reacts to form adsorbed nitrates and lead nitrate thin films with the extent of nitrate formation relative humidity dependent. NO(2)-exposed PbO particles are found to have an increase in the amount of lead that dissolves in aqueous suspensions at circumneutral pH compared to particles not exposed. These results point to the potential importance and impact that heterogeneous chemistry with trace atmospheric gases can have on increasing solubility and therefore the mobilization of heavy metals, such as lead, in the environment. This study also shows that surface intermediates that form, such as adsorbed lead nitrates, can yield higher concentrations of lead in water systems. These water systems can include drinking water, groundwater, estuaries, and lakes.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Lead(II) oxide, ACS reagent, ≥99.0%
Sigma-Aldrich
Lead(II) oxide, puriss. p.a., ≥99.0% (KT), yellow
Sigma-Aldrich
Lead(II) oxide, 99.999% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Lead(II) oxide, powder, <10 μm, ReagentPlus®, ≥99.9% trace metals basis