U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Date of this Version



Published in Environmental Research 100 (2006) 100–114.


A 4-year longitudinal study is being conducted to evaluate potential changes to the environment and exposure of young children associated with the introduction of methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT) into Australia in 2001. The cohort consists of 57 females and 56 males, with an age range of 0.29–3.9 years. Samples are collected every 6 months from children in residences located at varying distances from major traffic thoroughfares in Sydney. Environmental samples include air, house, and daycare center dustfall, soil, dust sweepings, and gasoline; samples from the children include blood, urine, handwipes prior to and after playing outdoors, and a 6-day duplicate diet. All samples are analyzed for a suite of 20 elements using inductively coupled plasma methods. Results are presented for the first three 6-month sampling periods for lead (Pb) and manganese (Mn). For dustfall accumulation, expressed as metal concentration/m2/30 days, there was no significant difference between homes and daycare centers for either Pb or Mn, no significant change over the three sampling periods (time) for Pb or Mn, and a positive relationship between ‘‘traffic exposure’’ (traffic volume and proximity to the road) and Pb but not Mn. Lead concentrations in soil was a significant predictor for Pb in the house dustfall. For handwipes, the concentrations of Pb and Mn in wipes taken from children after playing outdoors was usually significantly greater than those for wipes taken prior to playing. There was no significant association between the concentrations of either Pb or Mn in handwipes and traffic exposure, and there was no significant association between Pb concentrations in the handwipes and gender, although the latter showed a marginally significant association for Mn (P = 0:053). Age was related to Pb level in the handwipes, with older subjects having higher Pb levels, and there were significant decreases in Pb and Mn concentrations over time. Dustfall accumulation was a significant predictor for Pb in the handwipes, and dust sweepings were a significant predictor of Mn in handwipes. Blood lead (PbB) concentrations ranged from 0.6 to 19 μg/dL (GM 2.6) (n = 269), and manganese in blood (MnB) ranged from 1.8 to 45 μg/L (GM 11.6) (n = 254). There was no significant difference between females and males for either mean PbB or MnB; over time there was a significant decline in PbB but no significant change in MnB. The only significant predictor for PbB was dustfall accumulation, although dietary intake may also be important, and the only significant predictor for MnB was Mn in handwipes prior to playing. At this early stage of the investigation we have not been able to detect any increases in Mn in these environmental samples or blood samples potentially associated with the use of MMT; in fact the Mn levels in handwipes declined over time.