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Apportionment of sources of heavy metals to agricultural soils using isotope fingerprints and multivariate statistical analyses

Wang, Pengcong, Li, Zhonggen, Liu, Jinling, Bi, Xiangyang, Ning, Yongqiang, Yang, Shaochen, Yang, Xiaojing
Environmental pollution 2019 v.249 pp. 208-216
agricultural soils, anthropogenic activities, cadmium, cluster analysis, coal, combustion, copper, dust, fly ash, heavy metals, incinerators, isotopes, lead, mercury, mixing, multivariate analysis, nickel, pollutants, pollution control, refining, rivers, sediments, soil parent materials, statistical models, zinc, China
Apportioning sources of environmental pollutants is key to controlling pollution. In this study, the sources of heavy metals to 234 agricultural soils from the Jianghan Plain (JHP) (∼22454 km2) in central China were discriminated between using Cd and Pb isotope compositions and multivariate statistical analyses. Concentrations of some metals in JHP soils (0.48 ± 0.2, 48.2 ± 15.9, 0.12 ± 0.23, 48.8 ± 16.4, 36.5 ± 9.8, and 96.8 ± 42.2 mg kg−1 for Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn, respectively) were higher than background concentrations in Chinese soil. The Cd isotope compositions for the JHP soils (δ114/110Cd values −0.76‰ to −0.25‰) were similar to Cd isotope compositions found for smelter dust and incinerator fly ash, indicating Cd was supplied to the JHP soils by ore smelting and/or refining processes. The Pb isotope compositions for the JHP soils (206Pb/207Pb 1.182–1.195 and 208Pb/206Pb 2.078–2.124) were between the Pb isotope compositions found for Chinese coal and natural sources, which a binary isotope mixing model indicated contributed 52% and 48%, respectively, of the Pb in JHP soils. Cluster analysis and positive matrix factorization indicated that the sources of heavy metals in JHP soils may consist of smelting and/or refining activities, coal combustion, agricultural activities, and natural sources (including Han River sediment and soil parent materials). The isotope fingerprints and multivariate statistical analyses together indicated that coal combustion and smelting and/or refining activities were the main anthropogenic sources of heavy metals polluting JHP soils.