Soil heavy metal pollution from Pb/Zn smelting regions in China and the remediation potential of biomineralization

Shengguo Xue , Xinghua Luo , Chuan Wu , Yongcheng Lin , Waichin Li , Min Deng , Jingqiang Tan


Received August 31, 2021,Revised , Accepted January 17, 2022, Available online January 25, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 662-677

Smelting activities pose serious environmental problems due to the local and regional heavy metal pollution in soils they cause. It is therefore important to understand the pollution situation and its source in the contaminated soils. In this paper, data on heavy metal pollution in soils resulting from Pb/Zn smelting (published in the last 10 years) in China was summarized. The heavy metal pollution was analyzed from a macroscopic point of view. The results indicated that Pb, Zn, As and Cd were common contaminants that were present in soils with extremely high concentrations. Because of the extreme carcinogenicity, genotoxicity and neurotoxicity that heavy metals pose, remediation of the soils contaminated by smelting is urgently required. The primary anthropogenic activities contributing to soil pollution in smelting areas and the progressive development of accurate source identification were performed. Due to the advantages of biominerals, the potential of biomineralization for heavy metal contaminated soils was introduced. Furthermore, the prospects of geochemical fraction analysis, combined source identification methods as well as several optimization methods for biomineralization are presented, to provide a reference for pollution investigation and remediation in smelting contaminated soils in the future.

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