Pyromorphite used to mitigate lead contamination.By: Duane Craig
What do you get when you combine a paste made from fish bones with lead? Pyromorphite. What's significant about that is it could be a much less costly way to mitigate lead contamination in soils.
A 2001 Environmental Protection Agency report noted how phosphate would bind with lead and cause it to become a crystalline substance known as pyromorphite. Calcium phosphate is a chief component of bone and once it reacts with lead the resulting material so far appears to decrease in solubility and bioavailability, meaning it remains stable while binding up the lead. Since pollock bones retain little meat residue after processing, they are especially well suited for this process.
Now, according to this report in Business & Health, the technique is set to be used on residential lots that are contaminated by lead. The area is in Oakland, California in the South Prescott neighborhood. So far it has been used on lead contamination at military bases, mines, universities and commercial labs.
It is widely reported that America has such a serious lead contamination problem that it will never be cleaned up. For many decades motor vehicles spewed out lead because the gasoline was leaded to prevent the valves from fouling. Another prime source of lead in soils is lead-based paint that was used on buildings.