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Antimony in soils of SW Poland—an overview of potentially enriched sites

Lewińska, Karolina, Karczewska, Anna
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2019 v.191 no.2 pp. 70
alluvial soils, antimony, copper, humans, landfills, mine tailings, mining, pollution, risk, Poland
Great concern has been recently focused on antimony in the environment due to the potential risks posed by this metalloid to humans. In Poland, the concentrations of Sb in soils have not been well recognized. The aim of this study was to identify the sites in south-western Poland where soils are considerably enriched in Sb and to make a rough assessment of a related environmental risk. One hundred forty-four samples were collected from 20 Lower Silesian locations chosen as potentially enriched in Sb that included historical mining sites, tailings impoundments, close vicinities of operating copper smelters, and landfills as well as currently operating and historical shooting ranges. Total concentrations of Sb in soils were determined, and related pollution indices were calculated. Several locations were found where soils contain high concentrations of Sb, with a maximum that exceeded 5600 mg kg⁻¹ Sb in the alluvial soil affected by historical mining. Sequential extraction showed a considerably high percentage of Sb extracted in potentially soluble fractions 1 (non-specifically sorbed) and 2 (specifically sorbed), particularly in the samples collected from shooting ranges and in some samples from historical mine areas. This result provides a strong premise for further risk- and remediation-oriented examination of soils in those sites. More detailed research is needed to determine a spatial extent of soil contamination in the sites identified as highly enriched in Sb. Contrary to these findings, soil material collected from copper tailings impoundments, surroundings of smelters, and landfills did not show any particular enrichment in Sb.