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Lead (Pb) in the environment is derived from both natural and anthropogenic sources. The aim of this study is to estimate the isotopic signature of anthropogenic Pb in sediments from a highly contaminated area (Stockholm), to discuss the influence of different sources on this signature, and to suggest natural Pb background concentrations. Also distribution patterns and differences between different water areas in Stockholm have been studied, both by total Pb and stable Pb isotopes. In 1993, sediment samples were collected at 24 stations in the Stockholm area and analysed for total Pb, zirconium (Zr), scandium (Sc) and stable Pb isotopes (204, 206–208Pb). Total Pb data show that the Stockholm sediments are severely contaminated by Pb. The contamination seems to be rather local since the small lakes surrounding the central parts of Stockholm are much less effected than the central parts. Stockholm is clearly influenced by anthropogenic and natural sources, but in some of the small lakes also by Pb in zircons from the geological basement. The anthropogenic Pb in Stockholm has typical 207Pb/206Pb ratios of 0.85–0.89 and 208Pb/204Pb ratios of 36–38, which are distinct from natural sources. Pb/Sc ratios suggest that the natural background Pb concentration is 10–20 mg kg−1 d.w.

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