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Quantitative source identification and risk assessment of trace elements in soils from Leizhou Peninsula, South China

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journal contribution
posted on 12.06.2018 by Lei Gao, Zhuowei Wang, Aiping Zhu, Zuobing Liang, Jianyao Chen, Changyuan Tang

Differentiating contribution of natural sources and anthropogenic inputs to soil element concentrations can provide important basis for pollution and risk assessments. Fifty-five surface soil samples were collected from farmland (n = 33) and forest land (n = 22) in the Leizhou Peninsula for the measurement of trace elements (Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Pb, and Cd) concentrations. It was found that soil Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn and Cd concentrations were significantly higher in farmland soils than in forest soils (p < 0.05). Industrial discharges accounted for the increase in Cr, Co, Ni, and Cu concentrations with mean contribution rates of 10.9%, 29.4%, 23.2%, and 25.3%, whereas agricultural activities contributed significantly (14.6%−92.4%) to soil Cd levels. The pollution levels of individual element based on a geo-accumulation index, and enrichment and contamination factors roughly followed a decreasing order of Cd > Co ≈ Cu ≈ Ni ≈ Cr > Zn ≈ As ≈ Pb. Severe contamination was found near industrial areas, which resulted in a moderate or considerable ecological risk. Soil Cr mainly derived from weathering process of basaltic rocks and industrial sources resulted in non-carcinogenic hazard and carcinogenic risk indices up to 2.47 and 2.79 × 10–4, respectively, near industrial areas, leading to that children suffered more from higher non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks than adults.


This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41471020, 41701585, and 41771027), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong, China (2017A030310309), the Guangzhou Municipal Technology R&D Program, China (201510010300), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (17lgpy40) and the Scientific and Technological Innovation Project of the Water Sciences Department of Guangdong Province (2018-2021).