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Science in the News
Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
- Long-distance transport of Hg, Sb, and As from a mined area, conversion of Hg to methyl-Hg, and uptake of Hg by fish on the Tiber River basin, west-central Italy.
Environ Geochem Health. 2013 May 12;
Gray JE, Rimondi V, Costagliola P, Vaselli O, Lattanzi P
Stream sediment, stream water, and fish were collected from a broad region to evaluate downstream transport and dispersion of mercury (Hg) from inactive mines in the Monte Amiata Hg District (MAMD), Tuscany, Italy. Stream sediment samples ranged in Hg concentration from 20 to 1,900 ng/g, and only 5 of the 17 collected samples exceeded the probable effect concentration for Hg of 1,060 ng/g, above which harmful effects are likely to be observed in sediment-dwelling organisms. Concentrations of methyl-Hg in Tiber River sediment varied from 0.12 to 0.52 ng/g, and although there is no established guideline for sediment methyl-Hg, these concentrations exceeded methyl-Hg in a regional baseline site (<0.02 ng/g). Concentrations of Hg in stream water varied from 1.2 to 320 ng/L, all of which were below the 1,000 ng/L Italian drinking water Hg guideline and the 770 ng/L U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) guideline recommended to protect against chronic effects to aquatic wildlife. Methyl-Hg concentrations in stream water varied from <0.02 to 0.53 ng/L and were generally elevated compared to the baseline site (<0.02 ng/L). All stream water samples contained concentrations of As (<1.0-6.2 μg/L) and Sb (<0.20-0.37 μg/L) below international drinking water guidelines to protect human health (10 μg/L for As and 20 μg/L for Sb) and for protection against chronic effects to aquatic wildlife (150 μg/L for As and 5.6 μg/L for Sb). Concentrations of Hg in freshwater fish muscle ranged from 0.052-0.56 μg/g (wet weight), mean of 0.17 μg/g, but only 17 % (9 of 54) exceeded the 0.30 μg/g (wet weight) USEPA fish muscle guideline recommended to protect human health. Concentrations of Hg in freshwater fish in this region generally decreased with increasing distance from the MAMD, where fish with the highest Hg concentrations were collected more proximal to the MAMD, whereas all fish collected most distal from Hg mines contained Hg below the 0.30 μg/g fish muscle guideline. Data in this study indicate some conversion of inorganic Hg to methyl-Hg and uptake of Hg in fish on the Paglia River, but less methylation of Hg and Hg uptake by freshwater fish in the larger Tiber River.
- Pollution distribution of heavy metals in surface soil at an informal electronic-waste recycling site.
Environ Geochem Health. 2013 May 5;
Fujimori T, Takigami H
We studied distribution of heavy metals [lead (Pb), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn)] in surface soil at an electronic-waste (e-waste) recycling workshop near Metro Manila in the Philippines to evaluate the pollution size (spot size, small area or the entire workshop), as well as to assess heavy metal transport into the surrounding soil environment. On-site length-of-stride-scale (~70 cm) measurements were performed at each surface soil point using field-portable X-ray fluorescence (FP-XRF). The surface soil at the e-waste recycling workshop was polluted with Cu, Zn and Pb, which were distributed discretely in surface soil. The site was divided into five areas based on the distance from an entrance gate (y-axis) of the e-waste recycling workshop. The three heavy metals showed similar concentration gradients in the y-axis direction. Zn, Pb and Cu concentrations were estimated to decrease to half of their maximum concentrations at ~3, 7 and 7 m from the pollution spot, respectively, inside the informal e-waste recycling workshop. Distance from an entrance may play an important role in heavy metal transport at the soil surface. Using on-site FP-XRF, we evaluated the metal ratio to characterise pollution features of the solid surface. Variability analysis of heavy metals revealed vanishing surficial autocorrelation over metre ranges. Also, the possibility of concentration prediction at unmeasured points using geostatistical kriging was evaluated, and heavy metals had a relative "small" pollution scales and remained inside the original workshop compared with toxic organohalogen compounds. Thus, exposure to heavy metals may directly influence the health of e-waste workers at the original site rather than the surrounding habitat and environmental media.
- Spatial distribution and temporal trends of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in water and sediment from Songhua River, China.
Environ Geochem Health. 2013 Apr 23;
Zhao X, Ding J, You H
The spatial and temporal distributions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Songhua River, Harbin, China, were investigated. Seventy-seven samples, 42 water and 35 sediment samples, were collected in April and October of 2007 and January of 2008. The concentrations of total PAHs in water ranged from 163.54 to 2,746.25 ng/L with the average value of 934.62 ng/L, which were predominated by 2- and 3-ring PAHs. The concentrations of total 16 PAHs in sediment ranged from 68.25 to 654.15 ng/g dw with the average value of 234.15 ng/g dw, which were predominated by 4-, 5- and 6-ring PAHs. Statistical analysis of the PAH concentrations shown that the highest concentrations of the total PAHs were found during rainy season (October of 2007) and the lowest during snowy season (January of 2008). Ratios of specific PAH compounds, including fluoranthene/(fluoranthene + pyrene) (Flu/(Flu + Pyr)) and phenanthrene/(phenanthrene + anthracene) (An/(Ant + PhA)), were calculated to evaluate the possible sources of PAH contaminations. These ratios reflected pyrolytic inputs of PAHs in Songhua River water and a mixed pattern of pyrolytic and petrogenic inputs of PAHs in the Songhua River sediments. Ecotoxicological risk levels calculated for PAHs suggested that there were individual PAHs, which can less frequently cause biological impairment in some samples, but no samples had constituents that may frequently cause biological impairment. Total toxic benzo[a]pyrene equivalent of ΣcPAHs varied from 10.03 to 29.7 ng/g dw and from 0.36 to 1.92 ng/g dw for total toxic tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalent. The level of PAHs indicated a low toxicological risk to this area.