Distribution and sources of mercury in soils from former industrialized urban areas of Beijing, China.

State Key Lab of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100085, China.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (Impact Factor: 1.68). 11/2008; 158(1-4):507-17. DOI: 10.1007/s10661-008-0600-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fifty-seven typical surface soils and 108 deeper soils were collected from five former industrial sites in Beijing and concentrations of total Hg (SigmaHg) as well as pH, total carbon (TC), total nitrogen (TN), total sulfur, and dissolved organic carbon concentrations determined. The mean concentration of SigmaHg in surface soils was significantly greater than background concentrations in the vicinity of Beijing. Forty-eight percent of the samples exceeded the "critical" concentration of 1.0 mg Hg/kg, dry weight in soils, which has been established by the Chinese government. At depths of 0-80 cm in the soil, profile concentrations of SigmaHg also exceeded the background value. There were significant correlations between concentrations of SigmaHg, TC, and TN in the industrial soils. The greater concentration of SigmaHg in most soils could have been due in part to combustion of coal and leakage from industrial processes.

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    ABSTRACT: PurposeMercury (Hg) accumulation and transfer in soil ecosystems has been altered on local, regional, and even global scales, and their environmental risk has increasingly been a concern to the public and the scientific community. Materials and methodsA county level region in Zhangjiagang County, the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region of China and a factory with Hg-contaminated wastewater discharging within the region were selected to study the accumulation, bioavailability, and transfer of Hg from different sources in soils and crops under rapid industrialization, urbanization, and intensive agricultural activities. Regional soil samples close to and away from factories and local soil and crop samples around a typical factory were collected in the YRD region of China. Soil and crop Hg and basic soil properties were examined. Results and discussionSignificant soil Hg accumulation was found in soils away from factories regardless of Cambosols (Entisols) and Anthrosols (Inceptisols), while the mobile HCl-extractable Hg (HCl-Hg) were greater in soils closer to factories due to a decrease and increase in soil pH and organic matter. A high level of soil total Hg (T-Hg) was found around the factory, and soil and crop Hg accumulation in the vicinity of the factory was localized with an exponential decrease as distance away from the wastewater discharge outlet increased. Although Hg accumulated in these soils, the T-Hg levels at only a few sampling sites in acidic Anthrosols area were found to exceed the second most stringent critical value of Chinese Environmental Quality Standards for Soils. ConclusionsConsidering the cessation of Hg-containing agrochemicals and limitation of effects of industrial activities on Hg accumulation, more attention should be paid to the changes in soil properties and crop rotations than controlling the pathways of Hg entering soils because the current environmental risk is mobilization of accumulated soil Hg. KeywordsBioavailability–Environmental risk–Rapidly industrializing region–Soil mercury accumulation
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    ABSTRACT: The peri-urban soils of Huelva, one of the first industrial cities in Spain, are subject to severe pollution problems primarily due to past poor management of industrial wastes and effluents. In this study, soil cores were collected in seven sites potentially contaminated with toxic chemicals arising from multiple anthropogenic sources, in order to identify trace elements of concern and to assess human health risks associated with them. In most soil core samples, total concentrations of As (up to 4,390 mg kg(-1)), Cd (up to 12.9 mg kg(-1)), Cu (up to 3,162 mg kg(-1)), Pb (up to 6,385 mg kg(-1)), Sb (up to 589 mg kg(-1)) and Zn (up to 4,874 mg kg(-1)) were by more than one order of magnitude greater than the site-specific reference levels calculated on the basis of regional soil geochemical baselines. These chemicals are transferred from the hazardous wastes, mainly crude pyrite and roasted pyrite cinders, to the surrounding soils by acid drainage and atmospheric deposition of wind-blown dust. Locally, elevated concentrations of U (up to 96.3 mg kg(-1)) were detected in soils affected by releases of radionuclides from phosphogypsum wastes. The results of the human health risk-based assessment for the hypothetical exposure of an industrial worker to the surface soils indicate that, in four of the seven sites monitored, cancer risk due to As (up to 4.4 × 10(-5)) is slightly above the target health risk limit adopted by the Spanish legislation (1 × 10(-5)). The cumulative non-carcinogenic hazard index ranged from 2.0 to 12.2 indicating that there is also a concern for chronic toxic effects from dermal contact with soil.
    Environmental Geochemistry and Health 05/2011; 34(1):123-39. · 2.08 Impact Factor

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