Occurrence, sources and risk of heavy metals in soil from a typical antimony mining area in Guizhou Province, China


Antimony mining activities can result in serious contamination of soil by heavy metals, which represents a risk to human health. In this study, the contamination and sources of 14 heavy metals, and their risks to both ecosystem and public health from these metals at an antimony mining site in Guizhou Province in China were explored. The results showed that the mean concentrations of Hg, Cu, As, Se, Cd, Sn, Sb and Pb were 3.73, 2.49, 13.99, 38.32, 1.11, 1.61, 305.33, 1.59 times than their local background levels. Sb, Se, As and Hg presented the relatively heavy pollution, wherein Sb (EI = 2137.34 > 320), Hg (EI = 150.26 > 80) and As (EI = 139.92 > 80) also posed the strong ecological risk. The sources identification illustrated Hg, Pb, As, Bi, Cr, Sb, Cd and Zn were attributed to industrial activities, Ni, Co, Au and Cu (p < 0.01) were derived from a combination of a lithogeny origin and anthropogenic source, whereas Se was of natural origin. Health risk assessment demonstrated that Ni, Cr and As presented both the unacceptable noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic risk, and Sb (HI = 1.44E+03) and Cd (HI = 2.91E+00) posed unacceptable noncarcinogenic risk to the local resident. Furthermore, children in the 1-6 age group (HI = 7.83E+02) were more sensitive to noncarcinogenic risk, and the 6-18 age group (CRI = 2.39E-02) as more prone to carcinogenic risk. The dermal contact was the predominant exposure pathway of noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic risks with a contribution rate of over 97% for all age groups. Overall, this research provided the comprehensive information on heavy metals in an antimony mining sites, and the related heavy metals should be paid attention for ensuring soil safety and protecting local people's health.

Authors: Yuting Guo, Rongshan Wu, Changsheng Guo, Jiapei Lv, Linlin Wu, Jian Xu
; Full Source: Environmental geochemistry and health 2022 Dec 2. doi: 10.1007/s10653-022-01410-w.