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MONTOYA, A., N.GONZALEZ, E. RODRIGUEZ, I.GUERRERO, E.CASAREZ, and DEVANEY, K., El Paso Community College, P.O. Box 20500, El Paso, Texas, 79998

Elevated levels of lead, copper, and arsenic in the soils of El Paso, Texas, (Barnes, 1993, U.S. EPA, 2002) have raised environmental and health concerns for area residents. To determine the possible source(s) and risk, our investigation uses a combination of magnetic susceptibility measurements, chemical analyses, and toxicity screenings. Previous HitSoilTop samples were collected from residential, industrial, and undeveloped areas in El Paso. Chemical analyses identified the concentrations of Pb, As, Cu and other metals in the soils using EPA method 3050A. The highest metal concentrations were found on the west side, which agrees with previous EPA and UTEP studies. Pb and As concentrations were positively correlated to Cu concentrations (R2=0.92). Initial toxicity screenings using Botsford's (2000) toxicity assay indicated soils tested were toxic to some degree. Magnetic susceptibility, a proxy for deposited air pollution, was highest in the northeast near a former artillery range and in the west side near four major potential anthropogenic sources: the ASARCO smelter, El Paso Electric power plant, a dismantled oil refinery, and the I-10 freeway.


Barnes (1993), Thesis, University of Texas at El Paso.
Botsford (2000), Proceedings of the 2000 Conference on Hazardous Waste Research, p. 22-35.
U.S. EPA (2002) El Paso County Metals Survey.

Research supported by the National Institute of Health, RISE program grant (R25GM60424-03).