Source Identification and Apportionment of Trace Elements in Soils in the Yangtze River Delta, China.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 06 12; 15(6)IJ
Trace elements pollution has attracted a lot of attention worldwide. However, it is difficult to identify and apportion the sources of multiple element pollutants over large areas because of the considerable spatial complexity and variability in the distribution of trace elements in soil. In this study, we collected total of 2051 topsoil (0⁻20 cm) samples, and analyzed the general pollution status of soils from the Yangtze River Delta, Southeast China. We applied principal component analysis (PCA), a finite mixture distribution model (FMDM), and geostatistical tools to identify and quantitatively apportion the sources of seven kinds of trace elements (chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni), and arsenic (As)) in soil. The PCA results indicated that the trace elements in soil in the study area were mainly from natural, multi-pollutant and industrial sources. The FMDM also fitted three sub log-normal distributions. The results from the two models were quite similar: Cr, As, and Ni were mainly from natural sources caused by parent material weathering; Cd, Cu, and Zu were mainly from mixed sources, with a considerable portion from anthropogenic activities such as traffic pollutants, domestic garbage, and agricultural inputs, and Hg was mainly from industrial wastes and pollutants.