The lack of management in small-scale mining operations has the potential for negative repercussions, e.g., mine collapses, compared with well-regulated large-scale mines. Here, we used an in vitro model to investigate heavy metal soil pollution characteristics and their attendant health risks in an abandoned, small-scale lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) mine located in southwestern China that had suffered from collapse. Our results showed the following: (1) Even the mine had been closed for many years, the soil was still heavily polluted by Pb, cadmium (Cd), and Zn, and there is a risk of secondary pollution. Pb, Zn, and Cd concentrations in the mining areas were all approximately 22–42 times higher than the background soil levels of Guangxi Province. (2) Cd had the largest bioaccessibility, and mining areas tend to have soils containing more bioaccessible metals (78 ± 14%, 27 ± 4%, and 38 ± 12% for Cd, Pb, and Zn in gastric phase and 40 ± 12%, 10 ± 5%, and 19 ± 8% in intestinal phase correspondingly). (3) Results of a stepwise, multiple regression analysis revealed that the total soil content of the three metals (Pb, Zn, and Cd), TOC (total organic carbon), soil composition, and Mn content were the main impact factors for the Pb, Cd, and Zn soil bioaccessibility in study area (R 2 = 0.37~0.93). (4) A health risk assessment based on Pb, Cd, and Zn bioaccessibility indicated that the health risk for people in mine area is not high (HI is 1.07 at most and CR 2.40E−6 at most for children).
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 19, 2018
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