Lead (II) detection and contamination routes in environmental sources, cookware and home-prepared foods from Zimatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Autores: Villalobos, M.|Merino-Sánchez, C.|Hall, C.|Grieshop, J.|Gutiérrez-Ruiz, M.E.|Handley, M.A.
Fuente: Science of the total environment
407 (8), 2836-2844

An interdisciplinary investigation, involving environmental geochemists, epidemiologists, nurses, and anthropologists, was undertaken to determine the contamination source and pathway of an on-going outbreak of lead poisoning among migrants originating from Zimatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico and living in Seaside, California, and among their US-born children. An initial investigation in Seaside identified grasshopper foodstuff ("chapulines") imported from Mexico and consumed as snacks, as containing alarmingly high lead concentrations (up to 2300 mg/kg). The focus in the present work concentrates on the Oaxacan area of origin of the problem in Mexico, and two potential sources of contamination were investigated: wind-borne dusts from existing mine residues as potential contaminants of soil, plant, and fauna; and food preparation practices using lead-glazed ceramic cookware.[…]

 The results indicated significant presence of lead in mine wastes, in specific foodstuffs, and in glazed cookware, but no extensive soil contamination was identified. In-situ experiments demonstrated that lead incorporation in food is made very efficient through grinding of spices in glazed cookware, with the combination of a harsh mechanical action and the frequent presence of acidic lime juice, but without heating, resulting in high but variable levels of contamination.

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