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    Pollution from heavy metals in urban environments is a topic of growing concern because many metals, including Pb and Cr, are a human health hazard. Exposure to Pb and Cr has been linked to the inhibition of neurological development as well as toxic effects on many organs. Yellow traffic paint (YTP) is a mixture that contains organic polymers, binders, and pigments, which in some cases consist of crocoite (PbCrO4) that may be coated by silica. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the behavior of the crocoite pigment grains within YTP and their silica coatings in simulated environmental and human body conditions. To do this, both YTP and asphalt were collected in Philadelphia, PA, USA. These samples as well as a standard PbCrO4 were investigated with powder X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), transmission electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Using this multi-analytical approach, mineral phases were determined in the YTP, their shape, dimensional distributions, crystallinity, and chemical composition, as well as elemental distributions before and after experimental interactions. Three batch dissolution experiments with YTP, asphalt, and standard PbCrO4 were performed to simulate ingestion, inhalation, and environmental interaction with rainwater. Elemental releases were determined with inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry, and results indicated that little (ingestion) to no (environmental and inhalation) Pb and Cr were leached from the YTP during the three experimental procedures. This is likely due to the silica coating that encapsulates the crocoite particles, which persisted during all interactions. The ESEM results for YTP showed dimensional reductions after interactions with all three fluids. The silica coating must be further explored to determine how it breaks down in real environmental conditions. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Michael J O'Shea, Ruggero Vigliaturo, Jessica K Choi, Thomas P McKeon, Mark P S Krekeler, Reto Gieré. Alteration of yellow traffic paint in simulated environmental and biological fluids. The Science of the total environment. 2021 Jan 01;750:141202

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    PMID: 32853929

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