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Environ Monit Assess. 2013 Dec;185(12):9843-56. doi: 10.1007/s10661-013-3296-y. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Affects of mining activities on Cd pollution to the paddy soils and rice grain in Hunan province, Central South China.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, School of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai University, Shanghai, 200444, China.


Located in Central South China, Hunan province is rich in mineral resources. To study the influence of mining on Cd pollution to local agricultural eco-system, the paddy soils and rice grain of Y county in northern Hunan province were intensively monitored. The results were as follows: (1) Total Cd (T-Cd) content in the soils of the county ranges from 0.13 to 6.02 mg kg(-1), with a mean of 0.64 mg kg(-1), of which 57.5% exceed the allowable limit specified by the China Soil Environmental Quality Standards. T-Cd in the soils varies largely, with the coefficient of variation reaching 146.4%. The spatial distribution of T-Cd in the soils quite matches with that of mining and industries. The content of HCl-extractable Cd (HCl-Cd) in the soils ranges from 0.02 to 2.17 mg kg(-1), with a mean of 0.24 mg kg(-1). A significant positive correlation exists between T-Cd and HCl-Cd in the soils (r = 0.770, ρ < 0.01). (2) Cd content in the rice produced in Y county ranges from 0.01 to 2.77 mg kg(-1), with a mean of 0.46 mg kg(-1). The rate of rice with Cd exceeding the allowable limit specified by the Chinese Grain Security Standards reaches 59.6%; that with Cd exceeding 1 mg kg(-1), called as "Cd rice," reaches 11.1%. (3) Cd content in the rice of Y county is positively significantly correlated with HCl-Cd (r = 0.177, ρ < 0.05) but not significantly with T-Cd in the soils (r = 0.091, ρ > 0.05), which suggests that the amount of Cd accumulating in the rice is more affected by its availability in the soils, rather than the total content. (4) The dietary intake of Cd via rice consumption in Y county is estimated to be 179.9 μg day(-1) person(-1) on average, which is far beyond the allowable limit specified by FAO/WHO and the target hazard quotients of Cd much higher than 1, suggesting the high risk on human health from Cd exposure.

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