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Environ Geochem Health. 2017 Jun;39(3):531-548. doi: 10.1007/s10653-016-9832-2. Epub 2016 May 3.

Assessment of potentially harmful elements pollution in the Calore River basin (Southern Italy).

Author information

1
Department of Science and Technology, University of Sannio, via dei Mulini 59/A, 82100, Benevento, Italy. dzuzolo@unisannio.it.
2
Department of Science and Technology, University of Sannio, via dei Mulini 59/A, 82100, Benevento, Italy.
3
Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Calabria, 87036, Arcavacata di Rende, CS, Italy.
4
Department of Earth, Environment and Resources Sciences, University of Napoli "Federico II", 80138, Naples, Italy.

Abstract

The geographical distribution of concentration values for harmful elements was determined in the Campania region, Italy. The study area consists of the drainage basin of the River Calore, a tributary of the river Volturno, the largest Southern Italian river. The results provide reliable analytical data allowing a quantitative assessment of the trace element pollution threat to the ecosystem and human health. Altogether 562 stream sediment samples were collected at a sampling density of 1 site per 5 km2. All samples were air-dried, sieved to <100 mesh fraction and analyzed for 37 elements after an aqua regia extraction by a combination of ICP-AES and ICP-MS. In addition to elemental analysis, gamma-ray spectrometry data were collected (a total of 562 measurements) using a hand-held Scintrex GRS-500 spectrometer. Statistical analyses were performed to show the single-element distribution and the distribution of elemental association factor scores resulting from R-mode factor analyses. Maps showing element distributions were made using GeoDAS and ArcGIS software. Our study showed that, despite evidence from concentrations of many elements for enrichment over natural background values, the spatial distribution of major and trace elements in Calore River basin is determined mostly by geogenic factors. The southwestern area of the basin highlighted an enrichment of many elements potentially harmful for human health and other living organisms (Al, Fe, K, Na, As, Cd, La, Pb, Th, Tl, U); however, these anomalies are due to the presence of pyroclastic and alkaline volcanic lithologies. Even where sedimentary lithologies occur, many harmful elements (Co, Cr, Mn, Ni) showed high concentration levels due to natural origins. Conversely, a strong heavy metal contamination (Pb, Zn, Cu, Sb, Ag, Au, Hg), due to an anthropogenic contribution, is highlighted in many areas characterized by the presence of road junctions, urban settlements and industrial areas. The enrichment factor of these elements is 3-4 times higher than the background values. The southwestern area of the basin is characterized by a moderate/high degree of contamination, just where the two busiest roads of the area run and the highest concentration of industries occurs.

KEYWORDS:

Contamination degree; Environmental pollution; Geochemical mapping; Potentially harmful elements; Radioactivity; Stream sediments

PMID:
27142759
DOI:
10.1007/s10653-016-9832-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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