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Integrated Assessment of the Distributions, Behaviour and Plant Interactions of Lead, Manganese and Platinum Group Elements in Roadside and Agricultural Environments

Institutions
Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Start date
2001
End date
2003
Objective
This research project aims to investigate the impact on the foodchain of contamination resulting from car exhausts.

The objectives of this research were
(i) to investigate the distributions of lead, manganese and platinum in the roadside environment and in an arable farm in close proximity to roads and
(ii) to investigate concentrations of these metals in plants grown close to a motorway.

This project is examining the composition of soils at varying distances from roads in specific locations, which reflect varying traffic densities. Control sites remote from any roads in specific locations are also sampled.

The aim of the study was to characterise the concentrations of these metals present in the environment from contemporary and historical vehicle exhaust releases and to provide an improved understanding of their significance as contaminants, with particular emphasis on their uptake by plants.

More information
The substitution of lead in petrol by other anti-knock agents and the increasing use of catalytic converters is expected to produce significant change in the overall composition of road dust, which could enter the foodchain via uptake in cultivated crops or pasture in farms in close proximity to roads.

It is therefore important to have an improved understanding of the long term environmental behaviour and contemporary environmental levels of elements such as manganese, a potential replacement for lead as a petrol additive, platinum group elements used in catalytic converters in motor vehicle exhaust systems, and lead.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
C01030
Categories
Chemical Contaminants
Heavy Metals