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Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution in Urban Soils of Havana City, Cuba


Concentrations of Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Pb and Fe in the top-soils (0–10 cm) from urbanized and un-urbanized areas of Havana city were measured by X-ray fluorescence analysis. The mean Co, Ni, Cu, Zn and Pb contents in the urban topsoil samples (13.9 ± 4.1, 66 ± 26, 101 ± 51, 240 ± 132 and 101 ± 161 mg kg−1, respectively) were compared with mean concentrations for other cities around the world. The results revealed the highest concentrations of metals in topsoil samples from industrial sites. Lowest metal contents were determined in the un-urbanized areas. The comparison with Dutch soil quality guidelines showed a slight contamination with Co, Ni Cu and Zn in all studied sites and with Pb in industrial soils. On the other hand, the metal-to-iron normalisation using Earth crust contents as background showed that soils from urbanized areas in Havana city (industrial sites, parks and school grounds) are moderately enriched with zinc, moderately to severe enriched (city parks and school grounds) and severe enriched (industrial sites) with lead. The values of integrated pollution index (IPI) indicated that industrial soils are middle and high contaminated by heavy metals (1.19 ≤ IPI ≤ 7.54), but enrichment index values (EI) shows that metal concentrations on the studied locations are not above the permissible levels for urban agriculture, except soils from power and metallurgical plants surroundings.

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Correspondence to O. Díaz Rizo.

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Rizo, O.D., Castillo, F.E., López, J.O.A. et al. Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution in Urban Soils of Havana City, Cuba. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 87, 414 (2011).

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  • Urban soils
  • Metal pollution
  • X-ray fluorescence
  • Havana
  • Cuba