Comparative Assessment of Soil Contamination by Lead and Heavy Metals in Riparian and Agricultural Areas (Southern Québec, Canada)

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"Soils contaminated with hydrocarbons (C10–C50), PAHS, lead and other heavy metals were recently found in the banks of two major rivers in southern Québec. Alluvial soils are contaminated over a distance of 100 kilometers. Eight sampling sites, including some located in agriculture areas (farm woodlots) have been selected to compare air pollution (aerosol fallout and rainout) and river pollution values. The concentrations detected in soil profiles for As, Cd and Pb vary between 3.01 to 37.88 mg kg−1 (As), 0.11 to 0.81 mg kg−1 (Cd) 12.32 to 149.13 mg kg−1 (Pb). These metallic elements are considered highly toxic and can harm wildlife and human health at high levels. The maximum concentration of Pb (149.13 mg kg−1) in soils of the riparian zone is twelve times higher than the average Pb concentration found in a natural state evaluated at 15.3 mg kg−1 (SD 17.5). Pb concentrations in soils of agricultural areas (woodland control sites) range between 12 and 22 mg kg−1, and given that these values are recorded in surrounding cultivated land, the issue of the quality of agricultural products (crops and forage) to feed livestock or destined for human consumption must be further addressed in detail."



soil, riparian rights, agriculture, mining, wildlife