Mercury Contamination of Soil as the Result of Long-Term Phosphate Fertilizer Production

Mirlean, Nicolai; Baisch, Paulo; Machado, Isabel; Shumilin, Evgueni
September 2008
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology;Sep2008, Vol. 81 Issue 3, p305
Academic Journal
This study was aimed at determining the range and spatial distribution of mercury in a geographical area influenced by the emissions of phosphate fertilizers industries in Rio Grande, Brazil. The case study demonstrated that mercury concentrations in a fine fraction of the surface soil close to the fertilizer factory reached levels as high as 800 μg kg−1. Increased mercury concentrations were detected up to 60 cm below the soil surface. Further, a significant impact of the elevated mercury levels was manifested in a 1-km zone around the factory. Technical grade sulfuric acid employed in superphosphate production is considered the principal source of this mercury contamination.


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