Metal contamination of home garden soils and cultivated vegetables in the province of Brescia, Italy: Implications for human exposure.

Gian Maria Beone, Roberta Ferri, Dana Hashim, Donald R. Smith, Stefano Guazzetti, Filippo Donna, Enrica Ferretti, Michele Curatolo, Caterina Moneta, Roberto G. Lucchini

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

58 Citazioni (Scopus)


Background: For the past century, ferroalloy industries in Brescia province, Italy produced particulate emissions enriched in manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), iron (Fe), and alu- minum (Al). This study assessed metal concentrations in soil and vegetables of regions with varying ferroalloy industrial activity levels. Methods: Home gardens (n = 63) were selected in three regions of varying ferroalloy plant activity durations in Brescia province. Total soil metal concentration and extractability were measured by X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), aqua regia extraction, and modified Community Bureau of Reference (BCR) sequential extraction. Unwashed and washed spinach and turnips cultivated in the same gardens were analyzed for metal concentrations by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. Results: Median soil Al, Cd, Fe, Mn, Pb, and Zn concentrations were significantly higher in home gardens near ferroalloy plants compared to reference home gardens. The BCR method yielded the most mobile soil fraction (the sum of extractable metals in Fractions 1 and 2) and all metal concentrations were higher in ferroalloy plant areas. Unwashed spinach showed higher metal concentrations compared to washed spinach. However, some metals in washed spinach were higher in the reference area likely due to history of agricultural product use. Over 60% of spinach samples exceeded the 2- to 4-fold Commission of European Communities and Codex Alimentarius Commission maximum Pb concentrations, and 10% of the same spinach samples exceeded 2- to 3-fold maximum Cd concentrations set by both organizations. Turnip metal concentrations were below maxi- mum standard reference values. Conclusions: Prolonged industrial emissions increase median metal concentrations and most soluble fractions (BCR F1 + F2) in home garden soils near ferroalloy plants. Areas near ferroalloy plant sites had spinach Cd and Pb metal concentrations several-fold above maximum standard references. We recommend thorough washing of vegetables to minimize metal exposure.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)507-517
Numero di pagine11
RivistaScience of the Total Environment
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015


  • metal contamination


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