Arsenic, antimony and bismuth in soil and pasture herbage in some old metalliferous mining areas in England

Xiangdong Li, Iain Thornton

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Soil and pasture herbage samples from some historical metalliferous mining and smelting areas in England were analysed for As, Sb and Bi by ICP-AES using a hydride generation method after ashing with Mg(NO3)2. The results showed that As, Sb and Bi concentrations in soils were elevated because of their associations with the Pb-Zn mineralisation in Derbyshire and Somerset, and Sn-Cu mineralisation in Cornwall. The distribution of As, Sb and Bi in soils reflected the chemical nature of different mine waste materials, and on a regional basis clearly reflected the geochemistry of the three mineral provinces. Historical smelting and calcination have caused intensive contamination in soils in the immediate vicinity of these activities. Antimony was highly elevated in soils at an old Pb smelter site in Derbyshire. Although the concentrations of As, Sb and Bi were generally low in the pasture herbage samples examined, the concentrations of As and Sb in herbage often reflected those of the corresponding soils. Soil pH had a large effect on the plant uptake of Bi from soils. The pasture herbage contaminated by soil can be an important exposure pathway of these elements to livestock grazing on contaminated land.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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