Tracing diffuse anthropogenic Pb sources in rural soils by means of Pb isotope analysis - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Journal Articles Applied Geochemistry Year : 2013

Tracing diffuse anthropogenic Pb sources in rural soils by means of Pb isotope analysis


Knowledge of the cause and source of Pb pollution is important to abate environmental Pb pollution by taking source-related actions. Lead isotope analysis is a potentially powerful tool to identify anthropogenic Pb and its sources in the environment. Spatial information on the variation of anthropogenic Pb content and anthropogenic Pb sources in rural topsoils is remarkably limited. This study presents results of a survey of approximately 350 topsoil samples from rural locations covering the entire Netherlands, for which the bulk geochemical and Pb isotope compositions were determined. The specific aim of this study is to determine the anthropogenic Pb sources in the topsoils from rural areas in The Netherlands. The spatial distribution of anthropogenic Pb in soils in The Netherlands will be explained in terms of land use and pollution sources. Nearly all studied topsoils display Pb contents that exceed the amount expected based on the soil lithology. The range in Pb isotope ratios of the additional Pb fraction in rural Dutch topsoils is established at 1.056-1.199, 2.336-2.486 and 0.452-0.490 for Pb-206/Pb-207, Pb-207/Pb-208 and Pb-206/Pb-208, respectively. Five land use types are distinguished (forest, open nature, moor, arable land and grassland) with distinct isotopic compositions for added Pb. Additional Pb in soils of natural areas (forest, open nature and moor) has on average lower Pb-206/Pb-207, Pb-208/Pb-207 and Pb-206/Pb-208 ratios than the agricultural soils (arable land and grassland). Additional Pb in both natural area soils and agricultural soils is interpreted to be of anthropogenic origin: most likely a mixture of coal/galena, incinerator ashes and gasoline Pb. The dominant sources of additional Pb in the topsoil of open nature areas are most likely incinerator ash and gasoline Pb. In contrast, the on average higher Pb-206/Pb-207, Pb-208/Pb-207 and Pb-206/Pb-208 ratios of additional Pb in agricultural soils are most likely caused by the presence of animal manure and N-P fertilizers. Several areas are observed with notably high additional Pb contents (26-211 mg/kg on an organic matter-free basis) in the topsoil. The largest area is the Randstad area, which has the highest population and traffic density, and hosts a considerable fraction of the Dutch chemical industry. Two other areas with high additional Pb contents in the topsoil are located near the Dutch borders and are most likely influenced by German and Belgian chemical industries. The topsoils in the coastal dunes and southern, central and northern forests are characterized by relatively low additional Pb contents (<10 mg/kg on an organic matter-free basis). The population, traffic and chemical industry density is low in these areas and no fertilizers are applied.
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Dates and versions

hal-01028882 , version 1 (22-07-2014)



N. Walraven, P. F. M. van Gaans, G. van Der Veer, B.J.H. van Os, Gerard Klaver, et al.. Tracing diffuse anthropogenic Pb sources in rural soils by means of Pb isotope analysis. Applied Geochemistry, 2013, 37, pp.242-257. ⟨10.1016/j.apgeochem.2013.07.015⟩. ⟨hal-01028882⟩


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