The quality of the urban environment is of growing concern as its human population continues to dramatically increase. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and SEM have been used to study the solid-phase speciation of Pb in urban road dust sediments (RDS) in Manchester, UK. XANES analysis and linear combination modeling indicate that PbCrO4 and Pb-sorbed goethite occur in 1000−500 μm, 250−125 μm, 63−38 μm, and <38 μm size fractions, collectively representing between 51−67% of the contributing Pb-phases. XANES analysis suggests that PbO, PbCl2, and Pb carbonates are also present. EXAFS modeling for all grain size fractions gives best fit models with a first shell of two oxygen atoms at 2.29−2.32 Å, which corroborate the possible presence of Pb-sorbed goethite, and also suggest the presence of Pb phosphates and Pb oxides. Second shell Pb−Fe and second and third shell Pb−Pb scattering distances confirm Pb-sorbed to Fe oxide, and PbCl2 and PbCrO4, respectively. Many of the XAS models are corroborated by SEM observations. The Pb-phases may pose a risk to human health if inhaled or ingested, with insoluble phases such as PbCrO4 potentially causing inflammation in the lungs, and soluble phases such as PbO potentially being the most bioaccessible in the digestive tract
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