Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Mark M. Baskaran


Deconstruction or demolition of old houses containing lead-based paint release Pb to the air and soil in the surrounding. A suite of aerosol (large-volume aerosol sampler, PM10) and soil samples were collected before, during and after deconstruction-demolition-clean-up activities in 5 houses from Springwells, Detroit, Michigan and analyzed for Pb along with a suite of other elements (Be, Al, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Ag, Cd, Sb, Ba, and Tl) using ICP-MS.

The ambient air Pb concentration in all 5 houses was found to exceed U.S Environmental Protection Agency National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Concentrations of arsenic and barium before deconstruction/demolition also often exceeded the ambient air levels reported in other places by U.S EPA. Highest concentrations of Pb in aerosols were found during demolition/clean-up activities. Positive or lack of significant correlation between aerosol mass and Pb concentration provide insight on the possible sources of aerosols and Pb.

Elemental ratio such as Pb/Al yields information on the sources of aerosols. Vertical profiles of Pb in soil cores indicate highest Pb concentration was found subsurface, potentially due to subsurface migration of Pb through the colloidal particles resulting from the re-mineralization of organic matter. The back-fill non-native soil samples always had the lowest Pb concentration and filling the demolished sites with non-native soils have resulted in the burial of native soils with high concentrations of Pb.