The distributions, contamination status, and health risk assessments of mercury and arsenic in the soils from the Yellow River Delta of China

  • Meng Ge
  • Guijian LiuEmail author
  • Houqi Liu
  • Zijiao Yuan
  • Yuan Liu
Research Article


The surface soils were collected from four areas in the Yellow River Delta (YRD), including three functional areas in the natural reserve of the YRD (the core area, buffer area, and experimental area) and a neighboring area of the natural reserve. The total concentrations, speciations, contamination status, and health risk assessments of the mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As) in surface soils of the YRD were investigated. The average Hg concentration was about three times that of the background value, while As was just slightly higher than the background. Hg levels in the sites of experimental area were significantly higher than those in the core area and buffer area, which was consistent with the human activity intensities of the three functional areas. However, no significant differences of As levels were observed across different areas. According to the sequential extraction experiments, only less than 5% of Hg and As were associated with the exchangeable fraction, while over 80% of them were found in the residual fraction, indicating low mobility and bioavailability of both Hg and As. The soil contamination status assessments suggested a “good state,” and the health risk assessments indicated a “low risk” of Hg and As in the soils of YRD.


Mercury Arsenic Soil Speciation Assessment Yellow River Delta 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2014CB238903), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO. 41672144, 41402133), and China Postdoctoral Science Fund (BH2260080006).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meng Ge
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Guijian Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Houqi Liu
    • 1
    • 4
  • Zijiao Yuan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and Environment, School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth EnvironmentThe Chinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  3. 3.University of Hong Kong Joint Advanced Research CentreUniversity of Science and Technology of China-CitySuzhouChina
  4. 4.Suzhou Institute for Advanced StudyUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaSuzhouChina

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