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Health and ecological risk assessment of heavy metals pollution in an antimony mining region: a case study from South China

Fei, Jiang-Chi, Min, Xiao-Bo, Wang, Zhen-Xing, Pang, Zhi-hua, Liang, Yan-Jie, Ke, Yong
Environmental science and pollution research international 2017 v.24 no.35 pp. 27573-27586
agricultural soils, antimony, arsenic, basins, case studies, drinking water, ecotoxicology, environmental assessment, groundwater, heavy metals, lead, mine tailings, mining, pollution, remediation, risk, risk assessment, risk management, rivers, sediments, surface water, toxicity, watersheds, zinc, China
In recent years, international research on the toxicity of the heavy metal, antimony, has gradually changed focus from early medical and pharmacological toxicology to environmental toxicology and ecotoxicology. However, little research has been conducted for sources identification and risk management of heavy metals pollution by long-term antimony mining activities. In this study, a large number of investigations were conducted on the temporal and spatial distribution of antimony and related heavy metal contaminants (lead, zinc, and arsenic), as well as on the exposure risks for the population for the Yuxi river basin in the Hunan province, China. The scope of the investigations included mine water, waste rock, tailings, agricultural soil, surface water, river sediments, and groundwater sources of drinking water. Health and ecological risks from exposure to heavy metal pollution were evaluated. The main pollution sources of heavy metals in the Yuxi River basin were analyzed. Remediation programs and risk management strategies for heavy metal pollution were consequently proposed. This article provides a scientific basis for the risk assessment and management of heavy metal pollution caused by antimony basin ore mining.