Distribution and risk analysis of heavy metals in sediments from the Yangtze River Estuary, China

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Sediments core within the Yangtze River Estuary was collected for metal and grain size analysis. The vertical distribution characteristics of eight metals along the core were investigated based on 137Cs and 210Pb radionuclide dating. The sediment was mainly composed of sand and silt. The metals concentrations were Al, 4.67–6.83; Fe, 2.3–3.94; Mn, 0.046–0.07; Cr, 69.5–103; Cu, 14.3–32.1; Zn, 47.3–96.7; Cd, 0.037–0.212; Pb, 13.7–23; Ni, 18.8–38.9 (mg·kg−1, except Al, Fe, and Mn as %), respectively. Geoaccumulation indexes (Igeo) indicated that Cu, Zn, and Pb were of pollution-free level; Cd, Cr, and Ni were in a slight polluted level. Based on potential ecological risk factors (EI), Cd posed a moderate risk to the local environment. Correlation analysis showed that Fe, Al, and Mn had a close association with Cu, Zn, Pb, and Ni at p < 0.01. Clay was significantly correlated with other metals except Cr and Cd.

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Correspondence to Baolin Liu.

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• The vertical distribution characteristics of eight metals along the core were investigated based on 137Cs and 210Pb radionuclide dating.

• Study the grain size characteristics of sediments.

• Assess the level of sediments contamination and toxicity and identify the possible sources of heavy metals.

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Wang, X., Liu, B. & Zhang, W. Distribution and risk analysis of heavy metals in sediments from the Yangtze River Estuary, China. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020) doi:10.1007/s11356-019-07581-x

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  • Heavy metals
  • Grain size
  • Ecological risk
  • Sediments
  • Yangtze River Estuary