Considering bioavailability in the remediation of heavy metal contaminated sites
1 CRA Agricultural Research Council Research, Centre for Plant Soil System, Via Trieste 23 34170 Gorizia Italy
2 CNR Institute of Ecosystem Study Via Moruzzi 1 56124 Pisa Italy
3 CRA Agricultural Research Council Research Centre for Plant Soil System, Instrumental Centre of Tor Mancina, S.P. Pascolarese – Strada della Neve Km 1, 00015 Monterotondo, Rome, Italy
Many years of research have demonstrated that instead of the total concentration of metals in soil, bioavailability is the key to understand the environmental risk derived by metals, since adverse effects are related only to the biologically available forms of these elements. The knowledge of bioavailability can decrease the uncertainties in evaluating exposure in human and ecological risk assessment. At the same time, the efficiency of remediation treatments could be greatly influenced by availability of the contaminants. Consideration of the bioavailability processes at contaminated sites could be useful in site-specific risk assessment: the fraction of mobile metals, instead of total content should be provided as estimates of metal exposure. Moreover, knowledge of the chemical forms of heavy metals in soils is a critical component in the evaluation of applicability of different remediation technologies such as phytoremdiation or soil washing.
Key words: Heavy metals / bioavailability / remediation / soil
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