Concentrations, spatial distribution, and risk assessment of soil heavy metals in a Zn-Pb mine district in southern China.Environ Monit Assess. 2016 Jul; 188(7):413.EM
China is one of the largest producers and consumers of lead and zinc in the world. Lead and zinc mining and smelting can release hazardous heavy metals such as Cd, Pb, Zn, and As into soils, exerting health risks to human by chronic exposure. The concentrations of Cd, Zn, Pb, and As in soil samples collected from a Pb-Zn mining area with exploitation history of 60 years were investigated. Health risks of the heavy metals in soil were evaluated using US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) recommended method. A geo-statistical technique (Kriging) was used for the interpolation of heavy metals pollution and Hazard Index (HI). The results indicated that the long-term Pb/Zn mining activities caused the serious pollution in the local soil. The concentrations of Cd, As, Pb, and Zn in topsoil were 40.3 ± 6.3, 103.7 ± 37.3, 3518.4 ± 896.1, and 10,413 ± 2973.2 mg/kg dry weight, respectively. The spatial distribution of the four metals possessed similar patterns, with higher concentrations around Aayiken (AYK), Maseka (MSK), and Kuangshan (KS) area and more rapidly dropped concentrations at upwind direction than those at downwind direction. The main pollutions of Cd and Zn were found in the upper 60 cm, the Pb was found in the upper 40 cm, and the As was in the upper 20 cm. The mobility of metals in soil profile of study area was classed as Cd > Zn ≫ Pb > As. Results indicated that there was a higher health risk (child higher than adult) in the study area. Pb contributed to the highest Hazard Quotient (57.0 ~ 73.9 %) for the Hazard Index.