Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 3603–3611 | Cite as

Concentrations and chemical fractions of Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb at ten metallurgical sites in China

  • Bin Yang
  • Jie Ren
  • Mei Wang
  • Huilong Luo
  • Yunzhe CaoEmail author
Research Article


Metal pollution in urban soils due to smelting and electroplating has become a severe problem in China. In this study, the concentration, chemical fraction, and leaching behavior of typical metals (Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb) in soil samples from ten metallurgical sites were studied. The results show that some of the soils were polluted with Cu and most were heavily polluted with multiple metals, especially Zn, Cd, and Pb. The average concentration of Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb was 498, 4145, 89, and 5091 mg/kg, respectively. Chemical fractionation revealed that Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb were mainly present in the acid-soluble fraction in polluted soils, but predominated in the residual fraction in unpolluted soils, demonstrating that allogenic metals in the soils were mostly present in the more labile fractions. Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure results were in agreement with the chemical fractionation study, indicating that the higher the total metal content, the higher the leachability, mobility, bioavailability, and potential toxicity to the environment, especially groundwater. Use of chemical fractionation results instead of total metal concentrations would provide better insight into the distribution and binding forms of metals for better assessment of their mobility and bioavailability. The study would provide much more important information for developing better remediation strategies for contaminated sites.


Metal Soil contamination Metallurgical sites Chemical fraction Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure Leachability 


Funding information

This study was supported by funding from the China National Public Welfare Program for Environmental Protection (No. 201509031).


  1. Brazauskiene DM, Paulauskas V, Sabiene N (2008) Speciation of Zn, Cu, and Pb in the soil depending on soil texture and fertilization with sewage sludge compost. J Soils Sediments 8:184–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen H, Zhu Y (1999) Heavy metal pollution in soils in China: status and countermeasures. Ambio 28:130–134Google Scholar
  3. Chen H, Teng Y, Lu S, Wang Y, Wang J (2015) Contamination features and health risk of soil heavy metals in China. Sci Total Environ 512–513:143–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. CNEMC (China National Environmental Monitoring Center) (1990) The background values of Chinese soils. Environmental Science Press of China, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  5. Du P, Xue N, Liu L, Li F (2008) Distribution of Cd, Pb, Zn and Cu and their chemical speciations in soils from a peri-smelter area in northeast China. Environ Geol 55:205–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fang J, Wen B, Shan XQ, Lin JM, Owens G (2007) Is an adjusted rhizosphere-based method valid for field assessment of metal phytoavailability? Application to non-contaminated soils. Environ Pollut 150:209–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fernández E, Jiménez R, Lallena AM, Aguilar J (2004) Evaluation of the BCR sequential extraction procedure applied for two unpolluted Spanish soils. Environ Pollut 131:355–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Foster RL, Lott PF (1980) X-ray diffractometry examination of air filters for compounds emitted by lead smelting operations. Environ Sci Technol 14:1240–1244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fuentes A, Lloréns M, Sáez J, Isabel Aguilar MA, Ortuño JF, Meseguer VF (2008) Comparative study of six different sludges by sequential speciation of heavy metals. Bioresour Technol 99:517–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Han FX, Banin A (1997) Long-term transformations and redistribution of potentially toxic heavy metals in arid-zone soils incubated: I Under saturated conditions. Water Air Soil Pollut 95:399–423Google Scholar
  11. Han FX, Banin A (1999) Long-term transformation and redistribution of potentially toxic heavy metals in arid-zone soils: II. Incubation at the field capacity moisture content. Water Air Soil Pollut 114:221–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Han FX, Banin A, Triplett GB (2001) Redistribution of heavy metals in arid-zone soils under a wetting-drying soil moisture regime. Soil Sci 166:18–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Imperato M, Adamo P, Naimo D, Arienzo M, Stanzione D, Violante P (2003) Spatial distribution of heavy metals in urban soils of Naples city (Italy). Environ Pollut 124:247–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jalali M, Hemati N (2013) Chemical fractionation of seven heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn) in selected paddy soils of Iran. Paddy Water Environ 11:299–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kennou B, Meray ME, Romane A, Arjouni Y (2015) Assessment of heavy metal availability (Pb, Cu, Cr, Cd, Zn) and speciation in contaminated soils and sediment of discharge by sequential extraction. Environ Earth Sci 74:5849–5858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Klute A (1986) Methods of soil analysis. Part 1. Physical and mineralogical methods. Soil Science Society of America, Inc., MadisionGoogle Scholar
  17. Lasheen MR, Ammar NS (2009) Assessment of metals speciation in sewage sludge and stabilized sludge from different Wastewater Treatment Plants, Greater Cairo. Egypt J Hazard Mater 164:740–749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leleyter L, Baraud F (2006) Selectivity and efficiency of the acido-soluble extraction in sequential extraction procedure. Int J Soil Sci 1:168–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Li X, Thornton I (2001) Chemical partitioning of trace and major elements in soils contaminated by mining and smelting activities. Appl Geochem 16:1693–1706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li X, Shen Z, Wai OW, Li YS (2001) Chemical forms of Pb, Zn and Cu in the sediment profiles of the Pearl River Estuary. Mar Pollut Bull 42:215–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Li FY, Fan ZP, Xiao PF, Kokyo O, Ma XP, Wei H (2009) Contamination, chemical speciation and vertical distribution of heavy metals in soils of an old and large industrial zone in Northeast China. Environ Geol 57:1815–1823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Li Z, Ma Z, Kuijp TJVD, Yuan Z, Huang L (2014) A review of soil heavy metal pollution from mines in China: pollution and health risk assessment. Sci Total Environ 468-469:843–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu R, Wang M, Chen W, Peng C (2016) Spatial pattern of heavy metals accumulation risk in urban soils of Beijing and its influencing factors. Environ Pollut 210:174–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Manta DS, Angelone M, Bellanca A, Neri R, Sprovieri M (2002) Heavy metals in urban soils: a case study from the city of Palermo (Sicily). Italy Sci Total Environ 300:229–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Möller A, Müller HW, Abdullah A, Abdelgawad G, Utermann J (2005) Urban soil pollution in Damascus, Syria: concentrations and patterns of heavy metals in the soils of the Damascus Ghouta. Geoderma 124:63–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. National Environmental Protection Administration of China (1993) Quality Standard for Ground Water (GB/T 14848-93). ChinaGoogle Scholar
  27. Nolan AL, Mclaughlin MJ, Mason SD (2003) Chemical speciation of Zn, Cd, Cu, and Pb in pore waters of agricultural and contaminated soils using Donnan dialysis. Environ Sci Technol 37:90–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pan H, Hse CY, Gambrell R, Shupe TF (2009) Fractionation of heavy metals in liquefied chromated copper arsenate 9-treated wood sludge using a modified BCR-sequential extraction procedure. Chemosphere 77:201–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Quevauviller P, Rauret G, Muntau H, Ure AM, Rubio R, López-Sánchez JF, Fiedler HD, Griepink B (1994) Evaluation of a sequential extraction procedure for the determination of extractable trace metal contents in sediments. Fresenius J Anal Chem 349:808–814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ra K, Bang JH, Lee JM, Kim KT, Kim ES (2011) The extent and historical trend of metal pollution recorded in core sediments from the artificial Lake Shihwa. Korea Mar Pollut Bull 62:1814–1821CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rao CRM, Sahuquillo A, Sanchez JFL (2008) A review of the different methods applied in environmental geochemistry for single and sequential extraction of trace elements in soils and related materials. Water Air Soil Pollut 189:291–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rauret G, López-sánchez JF, Sahuquillo A, Rubio R, Davidson C, Ure A, Quevauviller P (1999) Improvement of the BCR three step sequential extraction procedure prior to the certification of new sediment and soil reference materials. J Environ Monit 1:57–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rogan N, Serafimovski T, Dolenec M, Tasev G, Dolenec T (2009) Heavy metal contamination of paddy soils and rice (Oryza sativa L.) from Kočani Field (Macedonia). Environ Geochem Health 31:439–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sahuquillo A, Rigol A, Rauret G (2003) Overview of the use of leaching/extraction tests for risk assessment of trace metals in contaminated soils and sediments. Trends Anal Chem 22:152–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Teng Y, Wu J, Lu S, Wang Y, Jiao X, Song L (2014) Soil and soil environmental quality monitoring in China: a review. Environ Int 69:177–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ure AM, Quevauviller P, Muntau H, Griepink B (1993) Speciation of heavy metals in soils and sediments. An account of the improvement and harmonization of extraction techniques undertaken under the auspices of the BCR of the Commission of the European Communities. Int J Environ Anal Chem 51:135–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. US Environmental Protection Agency (1992) Test methods for evaluating solid waste, physical/chemical methods. In: Method 1311: toxicity characteristic leaching procedure, laboratory manual physical/chemical methods. SW 846. U.S. Gov. Print. Office, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang XS, Qin Y, Sang SX (2005) Accumulation and sources of heavy metals in urban topsoils: a case study from the city of Xuzhou, China. Environ Geol 48:101–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wei BG, Yang LS (2010) A review of heavy metal contaminations in urban soils, urban road dusts and agricultural soils from China. Microchem J 94:99–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Xia X, Chen X, Liu R, Liu H (2011) Heavy metals in urban soils with various types of land use in Beijing, China. J Hazard Mater 186:2043–2050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yang Y, Nan Z, Zhao Z, Wang S, Wang Z, Wang X (2011) Chemical fractionations and bioavailability of cadmium and zinc to cole (Brassica campestris L.) grown in the multi-metals contaminated oasis soil, northwest of China. J Environ Sci-China 23:275–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yang SL, Zhou DQ, Yu HY, Wei R, Pan B (2013) Distribution and speciation of metals (Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb) in agricultural and non-agricultural soils near a stream upriver from the Pearl River, China. Environ Pollut 177:64–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yu X, Yan Y, Wang WX (2010) The distribution and speciation of trace metals in surface sediments from the Pearl River Estuary and the Daya Bay, Southern China. Mar Pollut Bull 60:1364–1371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zheng N, Liu J, Wang Q, Liang Z (2010) Health risk assessment of heavy metal exposure to street dust in the zinc smelting district, Northeast of China. Sci Total Environ 408:726–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zong YT, Xiao Q, Lu SG (2016) Chemical fraction, leachability, and bioaccessibility of heavy metals in contaminated soils, Northeast China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bin Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jie Ren
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mei Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huilong Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yunzhe Cao
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Water ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk AssessmentChinese Research Academy of Environmental SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations