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Title: Urban soil and water leaching processes: implications for human and environmental health
Authors: Leitão, T. E.
Hursthouse, A.
Chukwura , U.
Henriques, M. J. A.
Issue Date: Sep-2014
Abstract: In Europe, numerous urban sites exist where top layers of soil are enriched in potentially toxic elements. The land uses in urban environment are a matter of concern for human health and food security in cities, also in the context of the growing trend in Europe and elsewhere for using urban soil to grow food [1][2]. Nonetheless, the risk to the subsoil and groundwater may be minimal, depending on the nature and chemistry of the constituents released, as well as on the local conditions [e.g. climate, soil type, chemical conditions (pH, EC, redox and dissolved organic matter), and hydrogeology (permeability, dispersion, preferential flow paths)] [3][4][5]. The evaluation of the variability and mobility of potentially toxic element from contaminated materials and soil into water is essential. Judgment based on dynamic leaching experiments can be a valuable tool to assess long-term impact from contaminated sites. Long-term risk assessment therefore relies on dynamic leaching experiments rather than in assessing the maximum potential release capacity in equilibrium conditions, based on the total soil composition. In this study, the release of inorganic constituents from soils is assessed for different urban allotment soils from Scotland [4] and Portugal [6] using soil-column laboratory facility for tracer tests, for which the methodology is described in [7]. The release of inorganic constituents (metals) into waters provide the boundary conditions for the analysis of implications in human and environmental health, namely through plant uptake in urban allotments.
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