Heavy metals pollution assessment in correlation with magnetic susceptibility in topsoils of Shanghai

  • Syed Taseer Abbas JaffarEmail author
  • Long-zhu Chen
  • Hassan YounasEmail author
  • Naveed Ahmad
Original Article


This study investigated the heavy metal accumulation, magnetic susceptibility, and their correlation in urban soils of Baoshan District, Shanghai. A total of 127 topsoil samples were collected from industrial (n = 28), roadside (n = 38), residential (n = 21), and agricultural (n = 40) areas. The absolute concentration of heavy metals: lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd), and copper (Cu), was measured using an atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). Nemerow pollution index was applied to estimate the pollution level in respective areas. The results showed an excess of heavy metals in the urban topsoil of Baoshan District, among which, Pb, Zn, and Cd were most prominent. The average values of Pb, Zn, and Cd were obtained as 118.5, 228.6, and 0.56 mg kg−1, respectively, which are 5.6, 3.0, and 2.8 times higher than the Shanghai soil background values. Kriging interpolation was employed (according to the pre-evaluated fitted model variogram values of nugget, sill, and range) to assess the spatial distribution of heavy metals. Kriging interpolation depicted that the industrial sites were heavy metal-centric locations. Complimentary to AAS detection method, magnetic susceptibility tool was also applied to evaluate the presence of magnetic particles and their correlation with heavy metals. The magnetic susceptibility of the topsoil in Baoshan District was 148 × 10−8 m3 kg−1, which is ~5 times higher than the background value of Shanghai soil (29.1 ± 9.8 × 10−8 m3 kg−1). In most of the samples, the percentage frequency-dependent magnetic susceptibility (χ fd%) values in the topsoil of Baoshan District were less than 4%, suggesting the absence of pedogenic ultrafine superparamagnetic grains and the presence of anthropogenic multidomain and stable single domain grains. A significantly positive correlation (industrial: r = 0.81, P < 0.01; roadside: r = 0.65, P < 0.01; residential: r = 0.56, P < 0.01; agricultural: r = 0.6, P < 0.01) was found between magnetic susceptibility and heavy metal pollution irrespective of the type of anthropogenic activities at a particular land. The results suggested the reliability of magnetic susceptibility measurement to interpret the heavy metal pollution of the soils.


Baoshan District Heavy metals Magnetic susceptibility Soil pollution Urban topsoil 



The authors thank Professor Xue-Feng Hu at Shanghai University for his kind help in magnetic measurements of soil samples.


  1. Alary C, Demougeot-Renard H (2010) Factorial Kriging analysis as a tool for explaining the complex spatial distribution of metals in sediments. Environ Sci Technol 44:593–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ayoubi S, Amiri S, Tajik S (2014) Lithogenic and anthropogenic impacts on soil surface magnetic susceptibility in an arid region of Central Iran. Arch Agron Soil Sci 60:1467–1483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blundell A, Hannam JA, Dearing JA, Boyle JF (2009) Detecting atmospheric pollution in surface soils using magnetic measurements: a reappraisal using an England and Wales database. Environ Pollut 157:2878–2890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourliva A, Papadopoulou L, Aidona E (2016) Study of road dust magnetic phases as the main carrier of potentially harmful trace elements. Sci Total Environ 553:380–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cambardella CA, Moorman TB, Novak JM, Parkin TB, Karlen DL, Turco RF, Konopka AE (1994) Field-scale variability of soil properties in central Iowa soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 58:1501–1511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chaparro MAE, Gogorza CSG, Chaparro MAE, Irurzun MA, Sinito AM (2006) Review of magnetism and heavy metal pollution studies of various environments in Argentina. Earth Planet Space 58:1411–1422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen H, Lu X, Li LY, Gao T, Chang Y (2014) Metal contamination in campus dust of Xi’an, China: a study based on multivariate statistics and spatial distribution. Sci Total Environ 484:27–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chu W, Qiu S, Xu J (2016) Temperature change of Shanghai and its response to global warming and urbanization. Atmosphere 7:114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dankoub Z, Ayoubi S, Khademi H, Sheng-Gao L (2012) Spatial distribution of magnetic properties and selected heavy metals in calcareous soils as affected by land use in the Isfahan region, central Iran. Pedosphere 22:33–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davis HT, Aelion CM, McDermott S, Lawson AB (2009) Identifying natural and anthropogenic sources of metals in urban and rural soils using GIS-based data, PCA, and spatial interpolation. Environ Pollut 157:2378–2385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. de Miguel E, Llamas JF, Chacon E, Berg T, Larssen S, Royset O, Vadest M (1997) Origin and patterns of distribution of trace elements in street dust: unleaded petrol and urban lead. Atmos Environ 31:2733–2740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dearing JA (1999) Environmental Magnetic Susceptibility, Using the Bartington MS2 System, 2nd edn. Chi Publishing, England, Second edition ednGoogle Scholar
  13. Dearing JA, Dann RJL, Hay K, Lees JA, Loveland PJ, Maher BA, O’Grady K (1996) Frequency-dependent susceptibility measurements of environmental materials. Geophys J Int 124:228–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dearing JA, Bird PM, Dann RJL, Benjamin SF (1997) Secondary ferrimagnetic minerals in Welsh soils: a comparison of mineral magnetic detection methods and implications for mineral formation. Geophys J Int 130:727–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fialová H, Maier G, Petrovský E, Kapička A, Boyko T, Scholger R (2006) Magnetic properties of soils from sites with different geological and environmental settings. J Appl Geophys 59:273–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Forster T, Evans ME, Heller F (1994) The frequency dependence of low field susceptibility in loess sediments. Geophys J Int 118:636–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. García-Carmona M, Romero-Freire A, Aragón MS, Garzón FJM, Peinado FJM (2017) Evaluation of remediation techniques in soils affected by residual contamination with heavy metals and arsenic. J Environ Manage 191:228–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. GB15618-1995 (1995) Environmental quality standard for soilsGoogle Scholar
  19. Han Y, Cao J, Posmentier ES, Fung K, Tian H, An Z (2008) Particulate-associated potentially harmful elements in urban road dusts in Xi’an, China. Appl Geochem 23:835–845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hansen LD, Silberman D, Fisher GL (1981) Crystalline components of stack-collected, size-fractionated coal fly ash. Environ Sci Technol 51:1057–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hay KL, Dearing JA, Baban MJ, Loveland P (1997) A preliminary attempt to identify atmospherically-derived pollution particles in English topsoils from magnetic susceptibility measurements. Phys Chem Earth 22:207–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hoffmann V, Knab M, Appel E (1999) Magnetic susceptibility mapping of roadside pollution. J Geochem Explor 66:313–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hu X-F, Su Y, Ye R, Li X-Q, Zhang G-L (2007) Magnetic properties of the urban soils in Shanghai and their environmental implications. CATENA 70:428–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Islam MN, Jung H-Y, Park J-H (2015) Subcritical water treatment of explosive and heavy metals co-contaminated soil: removal of the explosive, and immobilization and risk assessment of heavy metals. J Environ Manage 163:262–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jiang Y, Chao S, Liu J, Yang Y, Chen Y, Zhang A, Cao H (2017) Source apportionment and health risk assessment of heavy metals in soil for a township in Jiangsu Province, China. Chemosphere 168:1658–1668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jie-liang C, Zhou S, You-wei Z (2007) Assessment and mapping of environmental quality in agricultural soils of Zhejiang province, China. J Environ Sci 19:50–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kanu MO, Meludu OC, Oniku SA (2014) Comparative study of top soil magnetic susceptibility variation based on some human activities. Geofís Int 53:411–423Google Scholar
  28. Karimi R, Ayoubi S, Jalalian A, Sheikh-Hosseini AR, Afyuni M (2011) Relationships between magnetic susceptibility and heavy metals in urban topsoils in the arid region of Isfahan, central Iran. J Appl Geophys 74:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kukier U, Ishak CF, Sumner ME, Miller WP (2003) Composition and element solubility of magnetic and non-magnetic fly ash fractions. Environ Pollut 123:255–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Landrigan PJ (2002) The worldwide problem of lead in petrol, vol 80. Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Li X, Feng L (2010) Spatial distribution of hazardous elements in urban topsoils surrounding Xi’an industrial areas, (NW, China): controlling factors and contamination assessments. J Hazard Mater 174:662–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lu SG, Bai SQ, Xue QF (2007a) Magnetic properties as indicators of heavy metals pollution in urban topsoils: a case study from the city of Luoyang, China. Geophys J Int 171:568–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lu Y, Zhu F, Chen J, Gan H, Guo Y (2007b) Chemical fractionation of heavy metals in urban soils of Guangzhou, China. Environ Monit Assess 134:429–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ma J, Singhirunnusorn W (2012) Distribution and health risk assessment of heavy metals in surface dusts of Maha Sarakham municipality. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 50:280–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Naimi S, Ayoubi S (2013) Vertical and horizontal distribution of magnetic susceptibility and metal contents in an industrial district of central Iran. J Appl Geophys 96:55–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ogunkunle CO, Fatoba PO (2013) Pollution loads and the ecological risk assessment of soil heavy metals around a mega cement factory in southwest Nigeria. Pol J Environ Stud 22:487–493Google Scholar
  37. Peng X, Shi G, Liu G, Xu J, Tian Y, Zhang Y, Feng Y, Russell AG (2017) Source apportionment and heavy metal health risk (HMHR) quantification from sources in a southern city in China, using an ME2-HMHR model. Environ Pollut 221:335–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Planning SAR (1985) Investigation report on contamination of vegetables in suburban Shanghai. Office of Shanghai Municipal Committee for Agricultural Regional Planning, Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Comission, ShanghaiGoogle Scholar
  39. Rodríguez-Salazar MT, Morton-Bermea O, Hernández-Álvarez E, Lozano R, Tapia-Cruz V (2010) The study of metal contamination in urban topsoils of Mexico City using GIS. Environ Earth Sci 62:899–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rosenbaum MS, Söderström M (1996) Cokriging of heavy metals as an aid to biogeochemical mapping. Acta Agric Scand 46:1–8Google Scholar
  41. Sadiki A, Faleh A, Navas A, Bouhlassa S (2009) Using magnetic susceptibility to assess soil degradation in the Eastern Rif, Morocco. Earth Surf Process Landf 34:2057–2069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sagnotti L, Winkler A (2012) On the magnetic characterization and quantification of the superparamagnetic fraction of traffic-related urban airborne PM in Rome, Italy. Atmos Environ 59:131–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sangode SJ, Vhatkar K, Patil SK, Meshram DC, Pawar NJ, Gudadhe SS, Badekar AG, Kumaravel V (2010) Magnetic susceptibility distribution in the soils of Pune Metropolitan Region: implications to soil magnetometry of anthropogenic loading. Curr Sci 98:516–527Google Scholar
  44. Shi G, Chen Z, Xu S, Zhang J, Wang L, Bi C, Teng J (2008) Potentially toxic metal contamination of urban soils and roadside dust in Shanghai, China. Environ Pollut 156:251–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shu J, Dearing JA, Morse AP, Yu L, Yuan N (2001) Determining the sources of atmospheric particles in Shanghai, China, from magnetic and geochemical properties. Atmos Environ 35:2615–2625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Smichowski P, Gómez D, Frazzoli C, Caroli S (2007) Traffic-related elements in airborne particulate matter. Appl Spectrosc Rev 43:23–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Strzyszcz Z (1993) Magnetic susceptibility of soils in the areas influenced by industrial emissions. In: Monitoring Soil (ed) Schulin R, Desaules A, Webster R, Steiger Bv. Birkhäuser Basel, Basel, pp 255–269Google Scholar
  48. Strzyszcz Z, Magiera T (2001) Record of industrial pollution in Polish ombrotrophic peat bogs. Phys Chem Earth 26:859–866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Taghipour M, Ayoubi S, Khademi H (2011) Contribution of lithologic and anthropogenic factors to surface soil heavy metals in western Iran using multivariate geostatistical analyses. Soil Sediment Contam 20:921–937CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tang X, Li Q, Wu M, Lin L, Scholz M (2016) Review of remediation practices regarding cadmium-enriched farmland soil with particular reference to China. J Environ Manage 181:646–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tijhuis L, Brattli B, Saether OM (2001) A geochemical survey of topsoil in the sity of Oslo, Norway. Environ Geochem Health 24:67–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tonga STY, Lamb KC (2000) Home sweet home? A case study of household dust contamination in Hong Kong. Sci Total Environ 256:115–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wang X (2013) Heavy metals in urban soils of Xuzhou, China: spatial distribution and correlation to specific magnetic susceptibility. Int J Geosci 4:309–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wang XS, Qin Y (2005) Correlation between magnetic susceptibility and heavy metals in urban topsoil: a case study from the city of Xuzhou, China. Environ Geol 49:10–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wang Z, Pang Z, Guo Q, Chen J, Xu Z, Lei Y, Chen J, Sun G, Hu X, Luo Q, Huang R, Lin F (2013) Introducing a land-use-based spatial analysis method for human health risk evaluation of soil heavy metals. Environ Earth Sci 70:3225–3235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wei B, Yang L (2010) A review of heavy metal contaminations in urban soils, urban road dusts and agricultural soils from China. Microchem J 94:99–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zheng Y-M, Chen T-B, He J-Z (2007) Multivariate geostatistical analysis of heavy metals in topsoils from Beijing, China. J Soils Sediments 8:51–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Faculty of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Engineering and TechnologyTaxilaPakistan

Personalised recommendations