Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 895–906 | Cite as

Inorganic and organic pollution in agricultural soil from an emerging e-waste recycling town in Taizhou area, China

  • Xianjin Tang
  • Chaofeng Shen
  • Lei Chen
  • Xi Xiao
  • Jingyan Wu
  • Muhammad I. Khan
  • Changming Dou
  • Yingxu Chen



The emerging recycling of electronic and electric waste (e-waste) is causing critical levels of soil pollution in those relatively poor towns surrounding the central cities, which have been involved in recycling activities for quite some time. Agricultural soil is of great importance due to its direct impact on food and human health. The objective of this study was to provide a systematic investigation of the contamination in agricultural soil for a range of inorganic compounds (Cr, Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, and Ni) and organic compounds (PAHs and PCBs) in town A, an emerging e-waste recycling town in China.

Materials and methods

A total of 20 agricultural soil samples were collected from three sampling locations throughout town A. Levels of inorganic compounds (Cr, Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, and Ni) and organic compounds (PAHs and PCBs) were determined by AAS, GC/MS, and GC/electron capture detector, respectively. Data was processed with SPSS 13 and Arcview 3.3 GIS software.

Results and discussion

The findings demonstrate that agricultural soil was contaminated to various extents by inorganic and/or organic pollutants. Comparison among the three sampling areas indicated that the soil was highly contaminated in the agricultural area near e-waste recycling workshops. Moreover, the contaminants (Cu, Pb, PAHs, and PCBs) may be connected through a common source as found in the Pearson correlations and cluster analysis.


There exists a heightened sense of awareness concerning the hazardous implications of current emerging e-waste recycling issues in the agricultural soil of those areas close to the central city in Taizhou.


Agricultural soil E-waste Heavy metals PAHs PCBs 



This work was financially supported by Science and Technology Foundation of Zhejiang Province, China (2009C13003), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (20080441246 and 200902636) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (40901153). The authors would like to acknowledge Professor Jianming Xu and other organizers of International Symposium of Molecular Environmental Soil Science at the Interfaces in the Earth’s Critical Zone (ISMESS 2009). Special thanks to Dr. Jianying Zhang of Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Zhejiang University for her great assistance during our research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xianjin Tang
    • 1
  • Chaofeng Shen
    • 1
  • Lei Chen
    • 1
  • Xi Xiao
    • 1
  • Jingyan Wu
    • 1
  • Muhammad I. Khan
    • 2
  • Changming Dou
    • 3
  • Yingxu Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering, Institute of Environmental Science and TechnologyZhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  3. 3.Anhui Academy of Environmental ScienceHefeiPeople’s Republic of China

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