Occurrence and transformation of mercury in formerly contaminated soils due to operation of amalgamation techniques and assessment of consequences
|Year of publication
|Article in Periodical
|Magazine / Source
|HUMAN AND ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT
|MU Faculty or unit
|mercury species; soil; abandoned gold mine; dental surgery; exposure assessment
|Soils formerly contaminated with mercury due to the implementation of amalgamation processes at two localities in the Czech Republic were analyzed to assess the impact of such contamination on both the environment and human health. One site is an abandoned gold mine at Libcice, where, in the past, gold was extracted from the raw ore by the mercury amalgamation technique. The second site is the environs of a small building in Prague where dental surgery was formerly undertaken. Soils were tested for total mercury (T-Hg), elemental mercury (Hg-0), methylmercury (MeHg+), phenylmercury (PhHg+), and gaseous elemental mercury (GEM). The T-Hg concentrations in both localities exceeded many times the maximum permissible limit for soils in the Czech Republic. The most contaminated soils were found around the dental surgery releasing GEM at concentrations of up to 1308 ng m(-3), which can represent a danger mainly for people through inhalation. Soils near the abandoned gold mine release GEM at concentrations of up to 26 ng m(-3), which indicates a long-term burden on the environment and a danger for surrounding farmland.