A Decline in Lead Transport by the Mississippi River

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Science  25 Oct 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4724, pp. 439-441
DOI: 10.1126/science.230.4724.439


Inputs of pollutant lead to the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River have declined by about 40 percent within the past decade. This decrease has been determined from annual lead loads of the Mississippi River and from the lead record in Mississippi Delta sediments. The observed trend is consistent with reduced consumption of lead in gasoline in the United States. More than 90 percent of the riverborne lead is associated with suspended sediments. Most of this particle-bound lead is deposited within 50 kilometers of the river mouth and is not easily leached at pH values above 3.