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Extremely small amounts of B[a]P residues remobilised in long-term contaminated soils: A strong case for greater focus on readily available and not total-extractable fractions in risk assessment

Umeh, Anthony C., Duan, Luchun, Naidu, Ravi, Semple, Kirk T.
Journal of hazardous materials 2019 v.368 pp. 72-80
acetone, butanol, environmental health, methylene chloride, polluted soils, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, risk assessment, saponification, solvents
There is a lack of understanding about the potential for remobilisation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) residues in soils, specifically after the removal of readily available fractions, and the likelihood to cause harm to human and environmental health. Sequential solvent extractions, using butanol (BuOH), dichloromethane/acetone, and methanolic saponification were used to investigate the time-dependent remobilisation of B[a]P residues in aged soils, after removal of readily available or total-extractable fractions. After 120 d of aging, BuOH-remobilised B[a]P were small or extremely small ranging from 2.3 ± 0.1 mg/kg to 4.5 ± 0.5 mg/kg and from 0.9 ± 0.0 mg/kg to 1.0 ± 0.1 mg/kg, after removal of readily available and total-extractable fractions, respectively. After removal of readily available fractions, the remobilisation rates of B[a]P residues were constant over 5 re-equilibration times, as shown by first-order kinetics. The amounts of B[a]P remobilised significantly (p < 0.05) decreased with aging, particularly in hard organic carbon-rich soils. After 4 years of aging, BuOH- and total-remobilised B[a]P were generally < 5% of the initially spiked 50 mg/kg. Based on the findings of this study, the potential or significant potential for B[a]P NERs in soils to cause significant harm to human and environmental health are minimal.