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Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2013 Jul;91(1):29-35. doi: 10.1007/s00128-013-1020-9. Epub 2013 May 30.

Spatial distribution and contamination assessment of heavy metals in urban topsoils from Las Tunas City, Cuba.

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Instituto Superior de Tecnologías y Ciencias Aplicadas, Ave. Salvador Allende y Luaces, POB 6163, 10600 La Habana, Cuba.


Concentrations of Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Pb and Fe in the topsoils (0-10 cm) from Las Tunas city were measured by X-ray fluorescence analysis. The mean Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn and Pb contents in the urban topsoil samples (97 ± 30, 14 ± 2, 35 ± 36, 94 ± 26, 199 ± 87 and 42 ± 29 mg kg⁻¹ dry weight, respectively) were compared with mean concentrations for other cities around the world with similar population. Cr content in school grounds, parks and residential areas exceed in 20 % the average Cr background level. Highest content for Ni was determined in residential areas, for Zn in market gardens soils and as for Pb, the highest topsoil-background content ratios were observed for market gardens (2.7) and residential areas (2.3). Spatial distribution maps indicated the same behaviour for Cr-Co-Ni and Pb-Zn, respectively, whereas the spatial distribution of Cu differs from other heavy metals. On the other hand, the metal-to-iron normalisation, using (10-20 cm) bottom soil contents as background, showed that topsoils in Las Tunas city are severely enriched with lead and not enriched with the rest of the determined metals. The average values of integrated pollution index (IPI) indicated that soils are moderately contaminated by heavy metals (1.17 ≤ IPI(ave) ≤ 1.39), but enrichment index values shows that metal concentrations on the studied locations are not above the permissible levels for urban agriculture.

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