Characterization, distribution, and risk assessment of heavy metals in agricultural soil and products around mining and smelting areas of Hezhang, China.Environ Monit Assess. 2015 Dec; 187(12):767.EM
Mining and smelting have been releasing huge amount of toxic substances into the environment. In the present study, agricultural soil and different agricultural products (potato, Chinese cabbage, garlic bolt, corn) were analyzed to examine the source, spatial distribution, and risk of 12 elements (As, Be, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sb, and Zn) in agricultural soil near mine fields, smelting fields, and mountain field around Hezhang County, west of Guizhou Province, China. Multivariate statistical analysis indicated that in mining area, As, Bi, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, Sb, and Zn were generated from anthropogenic sources; in smelting area, As, Be, Cd, Co, Cu, Pb, Sb, and Zn were derived from anthropogenic sources through zinc smelting ceased in 2004. The enrichment factors (EFs) and ecological risk index (RI) of soil in mining area are the most harmful, showing extremely high enrichment and very high ecological risk of As, Bi, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, Sb, and Zn. Zinc is the most significant enriched in the smelting area; however, mountain area has a moderate enrichment and ecological risk and do not present any ecological risk. According to spatial distribution, the concentrations depend on the nearby mining and smelting activities. Transfer factors (TFs) in the smelting area and mountain are high, implying a threat for human consumption. Therefore, further studies should be carried out taking into account the harm of those heavy metals and potential negative health effects from the consumption of agricultural products in these circumstances.