Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 7, pp 5951-5964

First online:

Soil heavy metal contamination in an industrial area: analysis of the data collected during a decade

  • Mariagrazia D’EmilioAffiliated withIMAA—Istituto di Metodologie per l’ Analisi Ambientale CNR Email author 
  • , Rosa CaggianoAffiliated withIMAA—Istituto di Metodologie per l’ Analisi Ambientale CNR
  • , Maria MacchiatoAffiliated withDipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Università Federico II
  • , Maria RagostaAffiliated withScuola di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi della Basilicata e CINFAI UdR Basilicata
  • , Serena SabiaAffiliated withIMAA—Istituto di Metodologie per l’ Analisi Ambientale CNR

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Soil contamination by heavy metals has become a serious problem mainly because, above certain concentrations, all metals have adverse effects on human health. In particular, the accumulation of heavy metals in agricultural soils leads to elevated uptake by crops and affects food quality and safety. In this paper, we present the results of a study carried out over a decade for evaluating the impact of a new industrial settlement in an area geared to agriculture and livestock and far from urban sites. We focus our study on the bioavailable fraction of Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn in soil samples. Heavy metal concentrations in soil are analysed with both univariate and multivariate statistical procedures. The main goal of this paper is the development of a statistical procedure, based on a mix of multivariate analysis, able to compare field surveys carried out during different years and to characterize spatial and temporal changes in soil heavy metals concentrations.


Soil contamination Heavy metal Industrial activities Cluster analysis