DBPapers

URBAN SOILS POLLUTED WITH HEAVY METALS AND HEALTH

A. R. Lacatusu, R. Lacatusu
Thursday 11 October 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

The soil is the predominant environmental factor for the accumulation of pollutants, including heavy metals, from where, in time, they enter into the global plant-water-animal-human circuit. Some heavy metals with higher toxicity and mobility such as Cd, Pb and even Zn and Cu can be accumulated in large amounts in the edible part of the plant or animal organs, generating consumer illness, some of the worst. This paper presents two examples of cities in Romania, Copșa Mica and Baia Mare, where, for a long time, metallurgy of non-ferrous ores was carried out. For several years these polluting industries have been closed, but the soils in the area, including the urban ones, have been polluted with significant amounts of such chemical elements. Thus, in urban soils of these two locations have been determined, the total levels of Cd that exceed, on average, 10 times the maximum admissible limit in the soil of Copșa Mică and 3.6 times in those of Baia Mare. Similarly, concentrations of the mobile Cd, soluble in the CH3COONH4-EDTA solution at pH 7.0, are 8, respectively, 2 times higher than the maximum admissible limit for this form of heavy metal in soil. Because of the acidic reaction of soils in these two areas, a significant amount of heavy metals will be found in plants grown on such soils. In the leaves of lettuce grown on urban soils of the two mentioned locations, significant amounts of Cd were determined, compared to the same plants grown in heavy metals - free zones. Similar situations occur for other heavy metals (Pb, Cu, Zn). As a consequence, in both areas, there have been recorded cases of intoxication with heavy metals in animals and humans. Life expectancy in such areas is ten years lower than in non-polluting areas. The effects of the heavy metal pollution phenomenon can be diminished by changing the soil reaction range, from acid to neutral or slightly alkaline, thus decreasing mobility in soils of this category of chemical elements.

Keywords: heavy metals, soil pollution, human health


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