Letter | Published:

Physicochemical speciation of lead in drinking water

Nature volume 286, pages 791793 (21 August 1980) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of drinking water as a route of human exposure to lead1,2. Whilst there are ample data on lead concentrations in drinking water3, little is known of its physical and chemical forms (physicochemical speciation)4. Such information is important as the speciation of ingested lead influences the efficiency of absorption from the gastrointestinal tract5. Knowledge of speciation should also provide a fuller understanding of the factors controlling the solubility of lead in potable waters6 and hence assist in devising the most cost-effective means of plumbosolvency control. We have determined experimentally the speciation of lead in three different tapwaters and report here diverse forms of dissolved and particle-associated lead, dependent primarily on the chemical matrix of the raw water.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Lancaster, Lancaster LA1 4YQ

    • Roy M. Harrison
    •  & Duncan P. H. Laxen

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/286791a0

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