Spatial patterns of tungsten and cobalt in surface dust of Fallon, Nevada

Paul R. Sheppard, Robert J. Speakman, Gary Ridenour, Michael D. Glascock, Calvin Farris, Mark L. Witten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Spatial patterns of tungsten and cobalt are described for surface dust of Fallon, Nevada, where a cluster of childhood leukemia has been ongoing since 1997. In earlier research, airborne tungsten and cobalt was shown to be elevated in total suspended particulates in Fallon. To fine-tune the spatial patterns of tungsten and cobalt deposition in Fallon, surface dust was collected in a grid pattern within as well as outside of Fallon to establish background concentrations of metals. In surface dust, tungsten and cobalt show sharp peaks (934 ppm and 98 ppm, respectively) within Fallon just north of highway 50 and west of highway 95. These two peaks overlap spatially, and given the grid pattern used for collecting surface dust, the source area of these two airborne metals can be pinpointed to the vicinity of hard-metal industry located north of highway 50 and west of highway 95. Fallon is distinctive in west central Nevada because of high airborne tungsten and cobalt particulates, and given its cluster of childhood leukemia, it stands to reason that additional biomedical research is in order to test directly the leukogenicity of combined airborne tungsten and cobalt particulates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-412
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • Childhood leukemia
  • Cobalt
  • Fallon
  • Nevada
  • Surface dust chemistry
  • Tungsten

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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