Distribution, availability, and sources of trace metals in different particle size fractions of urban soils in Hong Kong: Implications for assessing the risk to human health.

Research paper by Xiao-san XS Luo, Shen S Yu, Xiang-dong XD Li

Indexed on: 08 Feb '11Published on: 08 Feb '11Published in: Environmental Pollution


The concentration and loading distribution of trace metals (Cu, Zn, Pb, Co, Ni, Cr, and Mn) and major elements (Al, Ca, Fe, and Mg) in different particle size fractions (2000-280, 280-100, 100-50, 50-10, 10-2, and <2 μm) of surface soils from highly urbanized areas in Hong Kong were studied. The enrichment of Pb, Cu, and Zn in the urban soils was strongly influenced by anthropogenic activities, and Pb accumulated in fine particles was mainly derived from past vehicular emissions as shown by Pb isotopic signatures. Trace metals primarily accumulated in clay, fine silt, and very fine sand fractions, and might pose potential health risks via the inhalation of resuspended soil particles in the air (PM10 or PM2.5), and ingestion of adhered soils through the hand-to-mouth pathway. The mobility, bioavailability, and human bioaccessibility of Pb and Zn in bulk soils correlated significantly with metal concentrations in fine silt and/or very fine sand fractions.