Persistent thallium contamination in river sediments, source apportionment and environmental implications

Nuo Li, Yuchen Zhou, Juan Liu, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Jin Wang, Jingye She, Yuting Zhou, Meiling Yin, Zirong Chen, Diyun Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The adverse impacts of detrimental thallium (Tl) contamination are of increasing concerns to sustainable development. Herein, the contents, distributions and sources of Tl and potential toxic elements (PTEs) (Pb, As, Cr, Cu, Ni, Co, Sb, Cd and U) were investigated in sediments collected in Gaofeng River, which has been contaminated by long-term mining activities, located in Yunfu City, Southern China. Results indicated that excessive Tl levels were found in sediments (1.80–16.70 mg/kg). Sequential extraction procedure indicated that despite a large amount of Tl entrapped in residual fraction, a significant level of Tl (0.28–2.34 mg/kg) still exhibited in geochemically labile fractions, which was easy for Tl mobilization and availability. Pb isotope tracing method further confirmed that the pyrite exploitations may be the prime contaminated contributor (47–76%) to these sediments. These findings highlight that it is essential to establish more effective measures for Tl contamination control and call for engineered remediation countermeasures towards polluted river sediments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110874
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Pyrite mine
  • Sediment quality index
  • Source identification
  • Thallium contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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