Lead and associated heavy metal distribution in El Paso, Texas

Ali Ragab Elkekli, University of Texas at El Paso


Contamination by lead and other heavy metals is one of the most important environmental concerns of today, locally and globally. This issue has led scientists and researchers to study the effect of heavy metals and their distribution in the environment. The aim of the present research is to document the concentration and geographic distribution of heavy metals in El Paso. The selected heavy metals in the El Paso soil are lead, cadmium, chromium, zinc, antimony and copper. The soil sample for the study was collected during a previous community lead study (RO1 ESO11367; 2001-2006). 500 superficial soils samples were collected from public areas around 50 strata. Within each stratum, 10 blocks were randomly selected. The general procedures of EPA method 6200 for fieldportable XRF were followed for preparation of the samples, with slight modifications. These included grinding, mixing, pressing, and homogenization. The samples in present study 492 soil samples were analyzed by using x-ray fluorescence (Epsilon5). Statistical analyses were conducted to explore the relationships between lead and associated heavy metals. The detailed maps created by using the geographic information system techniques (GIS) for geochemical mapping of lead and associated heavy metals. The results of this study showed that the concentration of lead ranged from 10.8 to 420.9 ppm; for Cr ranged from 4.3 to 51.6 ppm; for Cu ranged from 6.5 to 385.8 ppm; for Zn ranged from 16.5 to 476.8 ppm; for Cd ranged from 0.4 to 11.9 ppm; and Sb ranged from 2.9 to 19.6 ppm with the mean value of 6.3 ppm. Therefore, the soil studied was highly contaminated with lead, copper, zinc and antimony and lesser extent in metals chromium and cadmium are detected in soil samples.

Subject Area

Inorganic chemistry|Environmental science

Recommended Citation

Elkekli, Ali Ragab, "Lead and associated heavy metal distribution in El Paso, Texas" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3609481.