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Removal, redistribution, and potential risks of soil Cd, Pb, and Zn after washing with various extractants

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The effectiveness of four different washing extractants—HCl, FeCl3, citric acid, and EDTA—in removing Cd, Pb, and Zn from polluted soil was studied. The removal of these metals, their redistribution between fractions, and the potential risks posed by them, in soils washed with the tested extractants, were examined. Although all the rounds of washing removed Cd, Pb, and Zn from soil, the first round removed more metals than subsequent rounds. Each of the four extractants had different effects on the removal of the metals. At the end of the first round of washing, HCl, EDTA, and FeCl3 were the most effective in removing Zn, Pb, and Cd, respectively. Both the single round and five successive rounds of washing with various extractants resulted in significant increases in Pb in the exchangeable/acid extractable fraction. Washing with HCl, EDTA, and FeCl3 significantly reduced potential risks (calculated as the Potential Risk Index, PRI) posed by Cd in washed soil. The first round of washing, using all extractants, increased the risks posed by Pb and Zn. However, five successive rounds of washing with FeCl3 and EDTA reduced the risk posed by Pb, and washing with citric acid and FeCl3 increased the risks posed by Zn. EDTA and HCl were better for reducing Zn risks, and successive washing with EDTA and FeCl3 were more effective in reducing Pb risks than the other extractants. Finally, five successive rounds of washing, with all the extractants, effectively reduced the potential risks posed by Cd. Among the four reagents, EDTA was advised to be the alternative of the washing reagent by significantly reducing the PRI values of Cd, Pb, and Zn.

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This research was financially supported by the China Environment Protection Foundation, “Project, 2007-661.”

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Correspondence to Guo Wang.

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Responsible editor: Zhihong Xu

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Chen, C., Chen, Y., Xie, T. et al. Removal, redistribution, and potential risks of soil Cd, Pb, and Zn after washing with various extractants. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 16881–16888 (2015).

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  • Bioavailability
  • Feasibility
  • Heavy metals
  • Remediation
  • Soil pollution