Environmental contamination of heavy metals from zinc smelting areas in Hezhang County, western Guizhou, China.Environ Int. 2006 Sep; 32(7):883-90.EI
Total heavy metal (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn) concentrations were evaluated in smelting waste, soil, crop and moss samples collected from the Hezhang artisanal zinc smelting areas, Guizhou, China. Soil samples from the cornfield near the smelting sites contained extremely high Cd (5.8-74 mg kg(-1)), Pb (60-14,000 mg kg(-1)) and Zn (260-16,000 mg kg(-1)) concentrations. Elevated heavy metal concentrations were also found in corn plants and total Pb (0.80-1.5 mg kg(-1)) and Cd (0.05-0.76 mg kg(-1)) concentrations in corn grain have totally or partially exceeded the national guidance limits for foodstuff. Thus, the soil-to-crop transfer of heavy metals might pose a potential health risk to the local residents. Similar to the high heavy metal levels in soil and corn, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations in moss samples collected from the smelting sites ranged from 10 to 110, 10 to 55, 26 to 51, 400 to 1200 and 330 to 1100 mg kg(-1), respectively, exhibiting a local spatial pattern of metals deposition from the atmosphere. Based on examination of Zn/Cd and Pb/Cd ratios of the analyzed samples, we have distinguished between the flue gas dust derived and smelting waste derived metals in different environmental compartments.