Airborne lead and particulate levels in Semarang, Indonesia and potential health impacts
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Spatial and temporal variation in airborne lead and total suspended particulates was examined in the city of Semarang, Indonesia, and surrounding area. Both airborne lead and TSP varied significantly with the type of urban development. Mean urban airborne lead levels were 0.35 microgram/m3 in the highway zone, 0.95 microgram/m3 in the residential zone, and 0.99 microgram/m3 in the commercial zone. Airborne lead levels in the industrial zone were significantly higher than all other areas, with a mean of 8.41 micrograms/m3. Airborne lead concentrations of this magnitude have not been reported in Indonesia previously. Mean TSP levels ranged from 115.5 micrograms/m3 to 165.8 micrograms/m3 in urban areas. Increased levels of TSP were associated with areas adjacent to major transportation routes. On a seasonal basis, TSP levels were significantly lower during the rainy season, while mean airborne lead levels did not show a significant seasonal trend. Observed ambient pollution levels were translated into potential heath impacts based on previously established relationships. Increased levels of TSP pollution near major roads was estimated to result in a 1.6% increase in mortality for all causes of death and a 7.9% increase in mortality due to respiratory disease. Estimated child blood lead levels indicated possible lead toxicity among Semarang children.
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