Distribution, availability, and sources of trace metals in different particle size fractions of urban soils in Hong Kong: Implications for assessing the risk to human health

Xiao San Luo, Shen Yu, Xiangdong Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

212 Citations (Scopus)


The concentration and loading distribution of trace metals (Cu, Zn, Pb, Co, Ni, Cr, and Mn) and major elements (Al, Ca, Fe, and Mg) in different particle size fractions (2000-280, 280-100, 100-50, 50-10, 10-2, and <2 μm) of surface soils from highly urbanized areas in Hong Kong were studied. The enrichment of Pb, Cu, and Zn in the urban soils was strongly influenced by anthropogenic activities, and Pb accumulated in fine particles was mainly derived from past vehicular emissions as shown by Pb isotopic signatures. Trace metals primarily accumulated in clay, fine silt, and very fine sand fractions, and might pose potential health risks via the inhalation of resuspended soil particles in the air (PM10or PM2.5), and ingestion of adhered soils through the hand-to-mouth pathway. The mobility, bioavailability, and human bioaccessibility of Pb and Zn in bulk soils correlated significantly with metal concentrations in fine silt and/or very fine sand fractions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1326
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • Bioaccessibility
  • Human health risk assessment
  • Particle size fractions
  • Sources identification
  • Urban soil contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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