Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 179, Issue 1–4, pp 255–265 | Cite as

Spatial distribution, bioavailability, and health risk assessment of soil Hg in Wuhu urban area, China



Total mercury (HgT) and bioavailability Hg (HgHCl) concentrations in soil were determined in five districts in Wuhu urban area. Spatial pattern of soil Hg concentration was generated through kriging technology. Results showed that Hg concentration in soil ranged from 0.024 to 2.844 mg kg − 1 with an average of 0.207 mg kg − 1. Hg concentration in soil appeared to have a block distribution and decreased from downtown to surrounding district. And Hg concentrations appeared to have a medium scale spatial auto correlation, strongly affected by human activity. The maximal Hg average concentration (0.332 mg kg − 1) in soil appeared in Jinghu district, where the high intensity of human activities is. Second highest Hg average concentration (0.263 mg kg − 1) in soil appeared in development district, where the intensive industrial activities are. Bioavailability Hg concentration in soil ranged from 2.6 to 4.9 μg kg − 1 with an average of 3.8 μg kg − 1, which had a ratio of 0.28~6.44% to total Hg. The ratios of bioavailability Hg to total Hg in vegetable soil were bigger than those of park soil. Correlation analysis showed that total Hg, organic matter, total phosphorus, and bioavailability Hg concentrations in soil were significantly positively correlated. Hg concentration in vegetable ranged from 2.7 to 15.2 μg kg − 1 with an average of 6.5 μg kg − 1. Hg concentration in vegetable was positively correlated with HgHCl concentration in soil. According to the calculation on hazard quotient (HQ) for children, inhalation of Hg vapor from soil is the main exposure pathway, in which HQ is 2.517 × 10 − 2, accounting for 80.3% of the four exposure pathways. Hazard index (HI) of the four exposure pathways is lower than the “safe” level of HI = 1; therefore, exposure of soil Hg exhibited little potential health risk to children in Wuhu urban area.


Wuhu urban area Soil Hg Spatial variability Bioavailability Health risk assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Territorial Resources and TourismAnhui Normal UniversityWuhuChina

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