Pb contamination and isotopic composition of urban soils in Hong Kong

Coby Sze Chung Wong, Xiangdong Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


In the urban environment, intense human activities can lead to degradation of environmental quality and have potential long-term effects on human health. In the present study, Pb contamination of urban soil cores in Hong Kong was investigated using a combination of the 'total' concentration, chemical partitioning and isotopic composition of Pb in the soils. The analytical results showed that urban soil cores in close vicinity to high traffic volumes (>40000 vehicles per day) were usually contaminated with Pb, suggesting atmospheric deposition of Pb as a consequence of vehicular emissions arising from the combustion of leaded gasoline in the past. Increasing Pb concentrations were generally associated with decreasing206Pb/207Pb ratios of the contaminated soil cores, offering strong evidence of accumulation of Pb derived from anthropogenic sources. In selected contaminated soil cores, the206Pb/207Pb ratios tended to increase in the order: carbonate<exchangeable<Fe-Mn oxide<organic< residual fractions. The distribution of the206Pb/207Pb ratios in the five operationally defined chemical fractions showed that the206Pb/207Pb ratios generally increased with increasing stability, demonstrating preferential association of anthropogenic Pb with the carbonate, exchangeable, Fe-Mn oxide and organic fractions in the soils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-195
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2004


  • Chemical partitioning of Pb
  • Hong Kong
  • Pb contamination
  • Pb isotope
  • Urban soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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