Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Environmental and health risk assessment of Pb, Zn, As and Sb in soccer field soils and sediments from mine tailings: solid speciation and bioaccessibility


Areas polluted by the persistent presence of metal(loid)s induce health problems, especially when recreational activities (on land or water) promote human exposure to the pollutants. This study focuses on one of the most encountered worldwide mining waste, i.e. those from the extraction of Pb–Zn–Ag. The representative Pb–Zn-rich tailing (about 64,100 m3) sampled is located near a soccer field and a famous river for fishing. The scientific interests is relative to: (1) mobility and bioaccessibility of metal(oid)s, (2) human risk assessments and (3) relationship between human risks and solid-bearing phases in the environment. Soccer field soils, tailings and sediments from the nearby river were sampled; moreover, metal(loid) speciation (from BCR experiments) and bioaccessibility were measured and solid speciation performed by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy in order to highlight metal(loid) dispersion and impact. Results demonstrate that the soccer field is highly contaminated by Pb, Zn, As and Sb due primarily to waste runoff. In terms of risk assessment, Pb and As human bioaccessibility highlights the major health risk (48 and 22.5 % of human bioaccessibility, respectively). Since local populations are regularly in close contact with metal(loid)s, the health risk due to pollutant exposure needs to be reduced through sustainable waste disposal and the rehabilitation of polluted sites.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. Álvarez-Valero AM, Sáez R, Pérez-López R et al (2009) Evaluation of heavy metal bio-availability from Almagrera pyrite-rich tailings dam (Iberian Pyrite Belt, SW Spain) based on a sequential extraction procedure. J Geochem Explor 102:87–94

  2. Anju M, Banerjee DK (2010) Comparison of two sequential extraction procedures for heavy metal partitioning in mine tailings. Chemosphere 78:1393–1402

  3. Baize D (1997) Teneurs totales en éléments traces métalliques dans les sols: France. Institut national de la recherche agronomique, Paris

  4. Birkefeld A, Schulin R, Nowack B (2006) In situ investigation of dissolution of heavy metal containing mineral particles in an acidic forest soil. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 70:2726–2736

  5. Bodénan F, Baranger P, Piantone P et al (2004) Arsenic behaviour in gold-ore mill tailings, Massif Central, France: hydrogeochemical study and investigation of in situ redox signatures. Appl Geochem 19:1785–1800

  6. Boussen S, Soubrand M, Bril H et al (2013) Transfer of lead, zinc and cadmium from mine tailings to wheat (Triticum aestivum) in carbonated Mediterranean (Northern Tunisia) soils. Geoderma 192:227–236

  7. Broadway A, Cave MR, Wragg J et al (2010) Determination of the bioaccessibility of chromium in Glasgow soil and the implications for human health risk assessment. Sci Total Environ 409:267–277

  8. Button M, Watts MJ, Cave MR et al (2008) Earthworms and in vitro physiologically-based extraction tests: complementary tools for a holistic approach towards understanding risk at arsenic-contaminated sites. Environ Geochem Health 31:273–282

  9. Caboche J, Denys S, Feidt C et al (2010) Modelling Pb bioaccessibility in soils contaminated by mining and smelting activities. J Environ Sci Health 45:1264–1274

  10. Cappuyns V, Swennen R, Niclaes M (2007) Application of the BCR sequential extraction scheme to dredged pond sediments contaminated by Pb–Zn mining: a combined geochemical and mineralogical approach. J Geochem Explor 93:78–90

  11. Carr R, Zhang C, Moles N et al (2008) Identification and mapping of heavy metal pollution in soils of a sports ground in Galway City, Ireland, using a portable XRF analyser and GIS. J Environ Sci Health 30:45–52

  12. Cave M, Wragg J, Klinck B, et al. (2006) Preliminary assessment of a unified bioaccessibility method for potentially harmful elements in soils. International Conference in Epidemiology and Environmental Exposure. Paris, 2–6 Sept 2006

  13. Chen GC, He ZL, Stoffella PJ et al (2006) Leaching potential of heavy metals (Cd, Ni, Pb, Cu and Zn) from acidic sandy soil amended with dolomite phosphate rock (DPR) fertilizers. J Trace Elem Med Biol 20:127–133

  14. Chiang KY, Lin KC, Lin SC et al (2010) Arsenic and lead (beudantite) contamination of agricultural rice soils in the Guandu Plain of northern Taiwan. J Hazard Mater 181:1066–1071

  15. Cottard F (2010) Resultats des caractérisations complémentaires effectués sur différents milieux dans le district minier de Pontgibaud (63). BRGM/RP-58571-FR

  16. Courtin-Nomade A, Rakotoarisoa O, Bril H et al (2012) Weathering of Sb-rich mining and smelting residues: insight in solid speciation and soil bacteria toxicity. Chemie der Erde—Geochemistry 72:29–39

  17. Day JP, Fergusson JE, Chee TM (1979) Solubility and potential toxicity of lead in urban street dust. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 23:497–502

  18. Denys S, Caboche J, Tack K, Delalain P (2007) Bioaccessibility of lead in high carbonate soils. J Environ Sci Health 42:1331–1339

  19. Denys S, Tack K, Caboche J, Delalain P (2009) Bioaccessibility, solid phase distribution, and speciation of Sb in soils and in digestive fluids. Chemosphere 74:711–716

  20. Diomides C. (2005) An investigation of inorganic background soil constituents with a focus on arsenic species. 192

  21. Duggan M, Inskip M, Rundle S, Moorcroft J (1985) Lead in playground dust and on the hands of schoolchildren. Environ Pollut 44:65–79

  22. Elom NI, Entwistle JA, Dean JR (2013) How safe is the playground? An environmental health risk assessment of As and Pb levels in school playing fields in NE England. Environ Chem Lett. doi:10.1007/s10311-013-0413-7

  23. FAO (2006) World Reference Base for Soil Researches. World Soil Resources Report 103. FAO, Rome

  24. Fotovat A, Naidu R (1998) Changes in composition of soil aqueous phase influence chemistry of indigenous heavy metals in alkaline sodic and acidic soils. Geoderma 84:213–234

  25. Frentiu T, Ponta M, Levei E, Cordos EA (2009) Study of partitioning and dynamics of metals in contaminated soil using modified four-step BCR sequential extraction procedure. Chemical Papers 63:239–248

  26. Frost RL, Palmer SJ, Spratt HJ, Martens WN (2011) The molecular structure of the mineral beudantite PbFe3(AsO4, SO4)2(OH)6 – Implications for arsenic accumulation and removal. J Mol Struct 988:52–58

  27. Gieré R, Sidenko N, Lazareva E (2003) The role of secondary minerals in controlling the migration of arsenic and metals from high-sulfide wastes (Berikul gold mine, Siberia). Appl Geochem 18:1347–1359

  28. Grosbois C, Meybeck M, Lestel L et al (2012) Severe and contrasted polymetallic contamination patterns (1900–2009) in the Loire River sediments (France). Sci Total Environ 435–436:290–305

  29. He M (2007) Distribution and phytoavailability of antimony at an antimony mining and smelting area, Hunan, China. Environ Geochem Health 29:209–219

  30. Van Herreweghe S, Swennen R, Vandecasteele C, Cappuyns V (2003) Solid phase speciation of arsenic by sequential extraction in standard reference materials and industrially contaminated soil samples. Environ Pollut 122:323–342

  31. Joussein E, Soubrand M, Wanat N, et al. (2013) Fate and geochemical behavior of arsenic, antimony and lead from mining Technosols. Geoderma (in press)

  32. Juhasz AL, Weber J, Smith E (2011) Impact of soil particle size and bioaccessibility on children and adult lead exposure in peri-urban contaminated soils. J Hazard Mater 186:1870–1879

  33. Kovács E, Dubbin WE, Tamás J (2006) Influence of hydrology on heavy metal speciation and mobility in a Pb–Zn mine tailing. Environ Pollut 141:310–320

  34. Neel C, Soubrand-Colin M, Piquet-Pissaloux A, Bril H (2007) Mobility and bioavailability of Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in a basaltic grassland: comparison of selective extractions with quantitative approaches at different scales. Appl Geochem 22:724–735

  35. Okorie A, Entwistle J, Dean JR (2012) Estimation of daily intake of potentially toxic elements from urban street dust and the role of oral bioaccessibility testing. Chemosphere 86:460–467

  36. Otones V, Alvarez-Ayuso E (2011) Mobility and phytoavailability of arsenic in an abandoned mining area. Geoderma 166:153–161

  37. Pelfrêne A, Waterlot C, Douay F (2011) In vitro digestion and DGT techniques for estimating cadmium and lead bioavailability in contaminated soils: influence of gastric juice pH. Sci Total Environ 409:5076–5085

  38. Pelfrêne A, Waterlot C, Mazzuca M et al (2012) Bioaccessibility of trace elements as affected by soil parameters in smelter-contaminated agricultural soils: a statistical modeling approach. Environ Pollut 160:130–138

  39. Pérez-Cid B, Lavilla I, Bendicho C (1998) Speeding up of a three-stage sequential extraction method for metal speciation using focused ultrasound. Anal Chim Acta 360:35–41

  40. Pueyo M, Mateu J, Rigol A et al (2008) Use of the modified BCR three-step sequential extraction procedure for the study of trace element dynamics in contaminated soils. Environ Pollut 152:330–341

  41. Reimann C, Siewers U, Tarvainen T, Bityukova L, Eriksson J, Giucis A, Gregorauskiene V, Lukashev V.K, Matinian N.N, Pasieczna A (2003) Agricultural soils in Northern Europe: a geochemical atlas. In Kommission Schweizerbart'sche, Hannover

  42. Reimann C, Matschullat J, Birke M, Salminen R (2010) Antimony in the environment: lessons from geochemical mapping. Appl Geochem 25:175–198

  43. Rodrıguez L, Ruiz E, Alonso-Azcárate J, Rincon J (2009) Heavy metal distribution and chemical speciation in tailings and soils around a Pb–Zn mine in Spain. J Environ Manag 1106–1116

  44. Salminen R, Forum of the European Geological Surveys Directors (2005) Background information, methodology and maps. Geological Survey of Finland, Espoo

  45. Schreck E, Bonnard R, Laplanche C et al (2012) DECA: a new model for assessing the foliar uptake of atmospheric lead by vegetation, using Lactuca sativa as an example. J Environ Manag 112:233–239

  46. Schreck E, Foucault Y, Geret F et al (2011) Influence of soil ageing on bioavailability and ecotoxicity of lead carried by process waste metallic ultrafine particles. Chemosphere 85:1555–1562

  47. Semple KT, Doick KJ, Jones KC et al (2004) Defining bioavailability and bioaccessibility of contaminated soil and sediment is complicated. Environ Sci Tech 38:228A–231A

  48. Smith E, Weber J, Naidu R et al (2011) Assessment of lead bioaccessibility in peri-urban contaminated soils. J Hazard Mater 186:300–305

  49. Smolders E, Oorts K, Van Sprang P et al (2009) Toxicity of trace metals in soil as affected by soil type and aging after contamination: using calibrated bioavailability models to set ecological soil standards. Environ Toxicol Chem 28:1633–1642

  50. Sobanska S, Uzu G, Moreau M, et al. (2010) Foliar lead uptake by lettuce exposed to atmospheric fallouts: Raman imaging study. AIP Conference Proceedings 1267:504–505

  51. Turner A, Singh N, Richards JP (2009) Bioaccessibility of metals in soils and dusts contaminated by marine antifouling paint particles. Environ Pollut 157:1526–1532

  52. Uzu G, Sobanska S, Aliouane Y et al (2009) Study of lead phytoavailability for atmospheric industrial micronic and sub-micronic particles in relation with lead speciation. Environ Pollut 157:1178–1185

  53. Uzu G, Sobanska S, Sarret G et al (2011) Characterization of lead-recycling facility emissions at various workplaces: major insights for sanitary risks assessment. J Hazard Mater 186:1018–1027

  54. Wanat N, Austruy A, Joussein E et al (2013) Potentials of Miscanthus × giganteus grown on highly contaminated Technosols. J Geochem Explor 126–127:78–84

  55. Wilson SC, Lockwood PV, Ashley PM, Tighe M (2010) The chemistry and behaviour of antimony in the soil environment with comparisons to arsenic: a critical review. Environ Pollut 158:1169–1181

  56. Winter-Sorkina R, Bakker MI, Donkersgoed G, Klaveren JD (2003) Dietary intake of heavy metals (cadmium, lead and mercury) by the Dutch population.

  57. Wixson B, Davies B (1994) Guidelines for lead in soil: proposal of the Society of Environmental Geochemistry and Health. Environ Sci Tech 28:26–31

  58. Ye ZH, Yang ZY, Chan GYS, Wong MH (2001) Growth response of Sesbania rostrata and S. cannabina to sludge-amended lead/zinc mine tailings: a greenhouse study. Environ Int 26:449–455

Download references


The authors would like to acknowledge firstly the anonymous reviewer for their helpful and constructive comments and the Regional Council for the study financial support.

Author information

Correspondence to Marilyne Soubrand.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pascaud, G., Leveque, T., Soubrand, M. et al. Environmental and health risk assessment of Pb, Zn, As and Sb in soccer field soils and sediments from mine tailings: solid speciation and bioaccessibility. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 4254–4264 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-2297-2

Download citation


  • Bioaccessibility
  • Mineralogy
  • BCR
  • Soccer field
  • Metals
  • Metalloids