Student Research: Sarah Wolz

, , 1994
Faculty Advisor: Richard A. Fenske

Residential Arsenic and Lead Levels in an Agricultural Community with a History of Lead Arsenate Use


From 1905 to 1947, lead arsenate (PBHAsO4) was the single most important insecticide used on apples and pears for the control of codling moth, unutil the introduction of DDT in 1948. In 1934, it was reported that 7 million pounds of lead arsenate per year were used in the eastern Washington tree fruit region around Wenatchee, with recommended annual application rates as high as 192 lbs. Pb and 70 lbs. As pre acre. The pesticide was applied using hand sprayers to literally drench the trees, causing the bare soils beneath to become heavily contaminated by lead arsenate residues. The objective of this thesis is to make a preliminary determination of the potential risks to children from exposure to lead arsenate contaminated soil and housedust in this region.

Arsenic and lead levels were determined in play area soil and indoor play area housedust samples collected from homes in the Wenatchee, WA area. The objectives were to:

1. describe levels of Pb and As in and around rural homes;
2. compare levels of Pb and As to those reported in the literature;
3. determine if samples from homes situated on the sites of old apple and pear orchards have higher levels of Pb and As than homes not situated on old orchard land;
4. attempt to identify other significant variables for predicting Pb and/or As levels in housedust, such as: age of home, recent remodling activity, frequency of vacuuming, and certain track-in cariables (i.e. removal of shoes, use of a walk-off mat at the main entry, and owning a pet that roams in and out of the house);
5. and make a preliminary determination as to the potential for a public health risk in an agricultural community with a history of lead arsenate use.

Taken from the beginning of thesis.