Potentially toxic metals in historic landfill sites: Implications for grazing animals
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Journal: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution
Municipal waste disposal is an increasing global problem, frequently solved by the use of landfill sites. Following closure, such sites contain a legacy of pollutants and must be managed to provide a safe and useful end life. The soils and vegetation from four historic landfill sites were analysed to determine the extent of pollution by potentially toxic metals (PTMs). Data were subsequently assessed to determine if post closure uses involving grazing were safe for the animals. The heaviest and widest spread soil contamination was due to Ni. Concentrations at all sites exceeded the 95th percentile value for rural soils, in one case by a factor of 30. Cu and Pb contamination was identified at some sites, but no evidence of Al or Zn contamination was found. Oral bioaccessibility testing showed that the availability of Ni in soil was exceedingly low, whilst that of Cu and Pb was high. Concentrations in plant shoots differed significantly amongst the sites, but interspecific differences in shoot concentration were only significant in the case of Cu. The results indicated that exposure levels to grazers would be at or below tolerable levels, indicating that it is generally safe to graze historic landfill. However, animals could be exposed to higher levels of PTMs than would be expected from rural locations, and grazing under conditions where soil consumption may be high could result in levels of exposure to Al, Ni and Pb exceeding tolerable levels. © Springer International Publishing 2014.