Health Risk Assessment of Lead in Soils from an Historic Industrial Site in North-East England

Renli Ma, John Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


The former St. Antony’s Lead Works site, now the central part of an urban recreational park (Walker Riverside Park) in the east end of Newcastle upon Tyne (England, UK), has been assessed based on the Pb concentration in topsoil according to recently derived Category 4 Screening Level (C4SL) for public open space–park (POSpark, 1300 mg/kg). The site was divided into eight sampling areas following its physical layout. In total 79 soil samples were collected, characterised for acidity and organic matter content, and analysed by energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF). The Pb levels in most of the samples, particularly those from the fringes of the site, are below the generic guideline value (down to 70 mg/kg). More than 16% of the samples from nearly all sampling areas, especially those sampling points around the former horizontal condenser flue and main chimney, contain levels of Pb significantly exceeding the limit (up to 206,000 mg/kg). No correlation is found between the Pb concentration in soil samples and their acidity (mostly neutral, pH 7.0 ± 0.5) or organic matter content (15.5 ± 4.1%). Using the Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment (CLEA) model (version 1.071), the site-specific risk assessment criteria (SSAC) for Lead (C4SL child), 2862 mg/kg, is obtained based on adjusted exposure frequency and occupancy period. Nearly 9% of the individual sample Pb concentrations (n = 79) across sample locations B, C, D and H are still above the specific value. Further statistical evaluation based on 95% upper confidence limit confirms that the site still represents a potential human health risk. This is because Pb concentrations, from two areas in the centre of the site (sample locations B and C), are greatly over the SSAC specific threshold (sample mean at location B is 12,350 mg/kg and at location C is 11,745 mg/kg).
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022


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