Impacts of traffic-induced lead emissions on air, soil and blood lead levels in Beirut

Z. Hashisho, M. El-Fadel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Scopus citations


    Lead is a purely toxic heavy metal which induces a wide variety of adverse physiologic effects. Nevertheless, it has been mined and used for more than 8,000 years. Among the different contemporary sources of lead pollution, traffic-induced emissions from the combustion of leaded gasoline is of particular concern, as it can constitute more than 90 percent of total lead emissions into the atmosphere in congested urban areas where no phase-out activities have been adopted. Gasoline lead content and traffic volume are strongly correlated with concentrations of lead in various environmental media. In the absence of policies to reduce the use of lead in gasoline or to favor the use of unleaded gasoline, leaded gasoline remains the predominant grade in many countries. This paper assesses the status of lead pollution from the combustion of leaded gasoline in Beirut based on field measurements of lead in air and roadside dust of urban and rural/suburban areas and recent data on soil and blood lead levels. Average atmospheric lead concentrations was about 1.86 μg m-3 at urban locations and 0.147 μg m-3 at suburban locations. The analysis of roadside dust revealed an average lead level of 353 μg g-1 along urban streets and 125 μg g-1 along rural/suburban roads Blood lead levels were also relatively high in comparison to countries where leaded gasoline has been phased-out.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)185-202
    Number of pages18
    JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
    Issue number1-3
    StatePublished - Apr 2004


    • Lead pollution
    • Leaded/unleaded gasoline
    • Traffic-induced emissions


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