The bioaccumulation and bioavailability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were characterized in sediment and Paphia undulata (short-neck clam) from six mudflat areas in the west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia. The concentrations of total PAHs varied from 357.1 to 6257.1 and 179.9 ± 7.6 to 1657.5 ± 53.9 ng g -1 dry weight in sediment and short-neck clam samples, respectively. PAHs can be classified as moderate to very high level of pollution in sediments and moderate to high level of pollution in short-neck clams. The diagnostic ratios of individual PAHs and principal component analysis indicate both petrogenic and pyrogenic sources with significant dominance of pyrogenic source. The first PAHs biota-sediment accumulation factors and relative biota-sediment accumulation factors data for short-neck clam were obtained in this study, indicating a preferential accumulation of lower molecular weight PAHs. Evaluation of PAH levels in sediments and short-neck clams indicates that short-neck clam could be introduced as a good biomonitor in mudflats. The results also demonstrated that under environmental conditions, the sedimentary load of hydrocarbons appears to be one of the factors controlling their bioavailability to biota.
Uranium is a radioactive element normally present in hexavalent form as U(VI) in solution and elevated levels in drinking water cause health hazards. Representative groundwater samples were collected from different litho-units in this region and were analyzed for total U and major and minor ions. Results indicate that the highest U concentration (113 µg l(-1)) was found in granitic terrains of this region and about 10 % of the samples exceed the permissible limit for drinking water. Among different species of U in aqueous media, carbonate complexes [UO2(CO3)(2)(2-)] are found to be dominant. Groundwater with higher U has higher pCO2 values, indicating weathering by bicarbonate ions resulting in preferential mobilization of U in groundwater. The major minerals uraninite and coffinite were found to be supersaturated and are likely to control the distribution of U in the study area. Nature of U in groundwater, the effects of lithology on hydrochemistry and factors controlling its distribution in hard rock aquifers of Madurai district are highlighted in this paper.
To evaluate the current status of arsenic exposure in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia, field interview along with urine sample collection was conducted in the arsenic-affected area of Kandal Province, Cambodia. Urine samples were analyzed for total arsenic concentrations by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. As a result, arsenicosis patients (n = 127) had As in urine (UAs) ranging from 3.76 to 373 µg L(-1) (mean = 78.7 ± 69.8 µg L(-1); median = 60.2 µg L(-1)). Asymptomatic villagers (n = 108) had UAs ranging from 5.93 to 312 µg L(-1) (mean = 73.0 ± 52.2 µg L(-1); median = 60.5 µg L(-1)). About 24.7 % of all participants had UAs greater than 100 µg L(-1) which indicated a recent arsenic exposure. A survey found that females and adults were more likely to be diagnosed with skin sign of arsenicosis than males and children, respectively. Education level, age, gender, groundwater drinking period, residence time in the village and amount of water drunk per day may influence the incidence of skin signs of arsenicosis. This study suggests that residents in Kandal study area are currently at risk of arsenic although some mitigation has been implemented. More commitment should be made to address this public health concern in rural Cambodia.
Radionuclide contamination in terrestrial ecosystems has reached a dangerous level. The major artificial radionuclide present in the environment is (137)Cs, which is released as a result of weapon production related to atomic projects, accidental explosions of nuclear power plants and other sources, such as reactors, evaporation ponds, liquid storage tanks, and burial grounds. The release of potentially hazardous radionuclides (radiocesium) in recent years has provided the opportunity to conduct multidisciplinary studies on their fate and transport. Radiocesium's high fission yield and ease of detection made it a prime candidate for early radio-ecological investigations. The facility setting provides a diverse background for the improved understanding of various factors that contribute toward the fate and transfer of radionuclides in the terrestrial ecosystem. In this review, we summarize the significant environmental radiocesium transfer factors to determine the damaging effects of radiocesium on terrestrial ecosystem. It has been found that (137)Cs can trace the transport of other radionuclides that have a high affinity for binding to soil particles (silts and clays). Possible remedial methods are also discussed for contaminated terrestrial systems. This review will serve as a guideline for future studies of the fate and transport of (137)Cs in terrestrial environments in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011.
In a reconnaisance soil geochemical and plant survey undertaken to study the heavy metal uptake by major food crops in Malaysia, 241 soils were analysed for cation exchange capacity (CEC), organic carbon (C), pH, electrical conductivity (EC) and available phosphorus (P) using appropriate procedures. These soils were also analysed for arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) using aqua regia digestion, together with 180 plant samples using nitric acid digestion. Regression analysis between the edible plant part and aqua regia soluble soil As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb and Zn concentrations sampled throughout Peninsular Malaysia, indicated a positive relationship for Pb in all the plants sampled in the survey (R2 = 0.195, p < 0.001), for Ni in corn (R2 = 0.649, p < 0.005), for Cu in chili (R2 = 0.344, p < 0.010) and for Zn in chili (R2 = 0.501, p < 0.001). Principal component analysis of the soil data suggested that concentrations of Co, Ni, Pb and Zn were strongly correlated with concentrations of Al and Fe, which is suggestive of evidence of background variations due to changes in soil mineralogy. Thus the evidence for widespread contamination of soils by these elements through agricultural activities is not strong. Chromium was correlated with soil pH and EC, Na, S, and Ca while Hg was not correlated with any of these components, suggesting diffuse pollution by aerial deposition. However As, Cd, Cu were strongly associated with organic matter and available and aqua regia soluble soil P, which we attribute to inputs in agricultural fertilisers and soil organic amendments (e.g. manures, composts).
In Asian countries such as China, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, ambient air total suspended particulates and PM2.5 concentration data were collected and discussed during the years of 1998-2015 in this study. The aim of the present study was to (1) investigate and collect ambient air total suspended particulates (TSP) and PM2.5 concentrations for Asian countries during the past two decades. (2) Discuss, analyze and compare those particulates (TSP and PM2.5) annual concentration distribution trends among those Asian countries during the past two decades. (3) Test the mean concentration differences in TSP and PM2.5 among the Asian countries during the past decades. The results indicated that the mean TSP concentration order was shown as China > Malaysia > Pakistan > India > Taiwan > Korea > Japan. In addition, the mean PM2.5 concentration order was shown as Vietnam > India > China > Hong Kong > Mongolia > Korea > Taiwan > Japan and the average percentages of PM2.5 concentrations for Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Mongolia and Other (India and Vietnam) were 8, 21, 6, 8, 14, 13 and 30%, respectively, during the past two decades. Moreover, t test results revealed that there were significant mean TSP and PM2.5 concentration differences for either China or India to any of the countries such as Taiwan, Korea and Japan in Asia during the past two decades for this study. Noteworthy, China and India are both occupied more than 60% of the TSP and PM2.5 particulates concentrations out of all the Asia countries. As for Taiwan, the average PM2.5 concentration displayed increasing trend in the years of 1998-1999. However, it showed decreasing trend in the years of 2000-2010. As for Korea, the average PM2.5 concentrations showed decreasing trend during the years of 2001-2013. Finally, the average PM2.5 concentrations for Mongolia displayed increasing trend in the years of 2004-2013.
This study aims to determine the status of potentially toxic element concentrations of road dust in a medium-sized city (Rawang, Malaysia). This study adopts source identification via enrichment factor, Pearson correlation analysis, and Fourier spectral analysis to identify sources of potentially toxic element concentrations in road dust in Rawang City, Malaysia. Health risk assessment was conducted to determine potential health risks (carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks) among adults and children via multiple pathways (i.e., ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation). Mean of potentially toxic element concentrations were found in the order of Pb > Zn > Cr(IV) > Cu > Ni > Cd > As > Co. Source identification revealed that Cu, Cd, Pb, Zn, Ni, and Cr(IV) are associated with anthropogenic sources in industrial and highly populated areas in northern and southern Rawang, cement factories in southern Rawang, as well as the rapid development and population growth in northwestern Rawang, which have resulted in high traffic congestion. Cobalt, Fe, and As are related to geological background and lithologies in Rawang. Pathway orders for both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks are ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation, involving adults and children. Non-carcinogenic health risks in adults were attributed to Cr(IV), Pb, and Cd, whereas Cu, Cd, Cr(IV), Pb, and Zn were found to have non-carcinogenic health risks for children. Cd, Cr(IV), Pb, and As may induce carcinogenic risks in adults and children, and the total lifetime cancer risk values exceeded incremental lifetime.
This study applied the use of sequential extraction technique and simple bioaccessibility extraction test to quantify the bioavailable fractions and the human bioaccessible concentration of metals collected from nine stations in surface sediment of the Langat River. The concentrations of total and bioaccessible metals from different stations were in the range of 0.49-1.04, 0.10-0.32 μg g-1 for T-Cd, Bio-Cd, respectively, and 12.9-128.03, 2.06-8.53 μg kg-1 for T-Hg, Bio-Hg, respectively. The results revealed highest R-Bio-Cd in Banting station (55.3 %), while the highest R-Bio-Hg was in Kajang station (49.61 %). The chemical speciation of Cd in most sampling stations was in the order of oxidisable-organic > residual > exchangeable > acid-reducible, while speciation of Hg was in the order of exchangeable > residual > oxidisable-organic > acid-reducible. The correlation matric of mean content showed that the TOM, particle size and Mg++ in polluted surface sediments was highly correlated with total mercury. The PCA showed that the main factors influencing the bioaccessibility of Hg in surface sediments were the sediment TOM, F1 (EFLE) and F3 (oxidation-organic), while the factor influencing the bioaccessibility of Cd was the F3 (oxidation-organic) and T-Cd.
The aim of the present study was to appraise the levels of heavy metal contamination (Zn and Pb) in sediment of the Langat River (Selangor, Malaysia). Samples were collected randomly from 15 sampling stations located along the Langat River. The parameters measured were pH, redox potential, salinity, electrical conductivity, loss of ignition, cation exchanges capacity (Na, Mg, Ca, K), and metal ions (Zn and Pb). The geo-accumulation index (I geo) and contamination factor (C f) were applied to determine and classify the magnitude of heavy metal pollution in this urban river sediment. Results revealed that the I geo of Pb indicated unpolluted to moderately polluted sediment at most of the sampling stations, whereas Zn was considered to be within background concentration. The I geo results were refined by the C f values, which showed Pb with very high C f at 12 stations. Zinc, on the other hand, had low to moderate C f values. These findings indicated that the sediment of the Langat River is severely polluted with Pb. The Zn concentration at most sampling points was well below most sediment quality guidelines. However, 40% of the sampling points were found to have a Pb concentration higher than the consensus-based probable effect concentration of 128 mg/kg (concentrations above this value are likely to cause harmful effects). This result not only highlights the severity of Pb pollution in the sediment of the Langat River, but also the potential risk it poses to the environment.
To develop a novel granular adsorbent to remove arsenic and antimony from water, calcined Mg/Al-layered double-hydroxide (CLDH)-incorporated polyethersulfone (PES) granular adsorbents (PES-LDH) were prepared using a core-shell method having 25% PES in an N,N-dimethylformamide solution. The PES-LDH displayed a spherical hollow shape having a rough surface and the average particle size of 1-2 mm. On the PES-LDH surface, nanosized CLDH (100-150 nm) was successfully immobilized by consolidation between PES and CLDH. The adsorption of Sb(V) by PES-LDH was found to be more favorable than for As(V), with the maximum adsorption capacity of As(V) and Sb(V) being 7.44 and 22.8 mg/g, respectively. The regeneration results indicated that a 0.5 M NaOH and 5 M NaCl mixed solution achieved an 80% regeneration efficiency in As(V) adsorption and desorption. However, the regeneration efficiency of Sb(V) gradually decreased due to its strong binding affinity, even though the PES-LDH showed much higher Sb(V) adsorption efficiency than As(V). This study suggested that PES-LDH could be a promising granular adsorbent for the remediation of As(V) and Sb(V) contained in wastewater.
Rapid increase in industrialization and urbanization in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia has led to the intense release of petroleum and products of petroleum into the environment. Surface sediment samples were collected from the Selangor River in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia during four climatic seasons and analyzed for PAHs and biomarkers (hopanes). Sediments were soxhlet extracted and further purified and fractionated through first and second step column chromatography. A gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used for analysis of PAHs and hopanes fractions. The average concentrations of total PAHs ranged from 219.7 to 672.3 ng g-1 dw. The highest concentrations of PAHs were detected at 964.7 ng g-1 dw in station S5 in the mouth of the Selangor River during the wet inter-monsoonal season. Both pyrogenic and petrogenic PAHs were detected in the sediments with a predominance of the former. The composition of hopanes was homogeneous showing that petroleum hydrocarbons share an identical source in the study area. Diagnostic ratios of hopanes indicated that some of the sediment samples carry the crankcase oil signature.
Mercuric species, Hg(II), interacts strongly with dissolved organic matter (DOM) through the oxidation, reduction, and complexation that affect the fate, bioavailability, and cycling of mercury, Hg, in aquatic environments. Despite its importance, the reactions between Hg(II) and DOM have rarely been studied in the presence of different concentrations of chloride ions (Cl-) under anoxic conditions. Here, we report that the extent of Hg(II) reduction in the presence of the reduced DOM decreases with increasing Cl- concentrations. The rate constants of Hg(II) reduction ranged from 0.14 to 1.73 h-1 in the presence of Cl- and were lower than the rate constant (2.41 h-1) in the absence of Cl-. Using a thermodynamic model, we showed that stable Hg(II)-chloride complexes were formed in the presence of Cl-. We further examined that H(0) was oxidized to Hg(II) in the presence of the reduced DOM and Cl- under anoxic conditions, indicating that Hg(II) reduction is inhibited by the Hg(0) oxidation. Therefore, the Hg(II) reduction by the reduced DOM can be offset due to the Hg(II)-chloride complexation and Hg(0) oxidation in chloride-rich environments. These processes can significantly influence the speciation of Hg and have an important implication for the behavior of Hg under environmentally relevant concentrations.
Sediment can accumulate trace elements in the environment. This study profiled the magnitude of As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb, Se, and Zn pollution in surface sediments of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Trace elements were digested using aqua regia and were analyzed using the inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The extent of elemental pollution was evaluated using with the enrichment factor (EF) and geoaccumulation index (Igeo). This study found that the elemental distribution in the sediment in descending order was Zn > Ba > Cr > Pb > Cu > As > Ni > Co > Se > Cd. Zn concentrations in all samples were below the interim sediment quality guideline (ISQG) (124 mg/kg). In contrast, Cd concentrations (2.34 ± 0.01 mg/kg) at Station 31 (Merlimau) exceeded the ISQG (0.70 mg/kg), and the concentrations of As in the samples from Station 9 (Tanjung Dawai) exceeded the probable effect level (41.60 mg/kg). The Igeo and EF revealed that Station 9 and Station 31 were extremely enriched with Se and Cd, respectively. All stations posed low ecological risk, except Station 31, which had moderate ecological risk. The outputs from this study are expected to provide the background levels of pollutants and help develop regional sediment quality guideline values. This study is also important in aiding relevant authorities to set priorities for resources management and policy implementation.
The concentration profile, distribution and risk assessment of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) in the coastal surface water from the Klang River estuary were measured. Surface coastal water samples were extracted using offline solid phase, applying polymeric C18 cartridges as extraction sorbent and measuring with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry-mass spectrometry (LC MS-MS) technique. Extraction method was optimized for its recovery, sensitivity and linearity. Excellent recoveries were obtained from the optimized method with percentage of recoveries ranging from 73 to 126%. The optimized analytical method achieved good sensitivity with limit of detection ranging from 0.05 to 0.15 ng L-1, while linearity of targeted compounds in the LC MS-MS system was more than 0.990. The results showed that amoxicillin has the highest concentration (102.31 ng L-1) followed by diclofenac (10.80 ng L-1) and primidone (7.74 ng L-1). The percentage of contribution (% of total concentration) for the targeted PhACs is in the following order; amoxicillin (92.90%) > diclofenac (3.95%) > primidone (1.23%) > dexamethasone (0.75%) > testosterone (0.70%) > sulfamethoxazole (0.33%) > progesterone (0.14%). Environmental risk assessment calculated based on deterministic approach (the RQ method), showed no present risk from the presence of PhACs in the coastal water of Klang River estuary. Nonetheless, this baseline assessment can be used for better understanding on PhACs pollution profile and distribution in the tropical coastal and estuarine ecosystem as well as for future comparative studies.
Lead contamination in topsoil of the mining and smelting area of Mitrovica, Kosovo, was investigated for total concentrations and chemical fractions by sequential extraction analysis, mineralogical fractions by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM-EDX). The study revealed that all samples contained Pb exceeding USEPA standard of 400 mg kg-1. The highest total concentration of Pb (125,000 mg kg-1) was the soil from the former smelter. Sequential extraction results showed that the predominant form of Pb was associated with Fe-Mn oxide-bound fraction which ranged from 45.37 to 71.61% of total concentrations, while carbonate and silicate Pb-binding fractions were dominant when physical measurements (XRD and SEM-EDX) were applied. Application of Pb isotope ratios (206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/206Pb), measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, identified that Pb contamination is originated from similar anthropogenic source. The results reflected that the Pb contamination in the soil of this area is serious. In order to provide proper approaches on remediation and prevention of health impacts to the people in this area, a continuous monitoring and health risk assessment are recommended.
The Mamut Copper Mine (MCM) located in Sabah (Malaysia) on Borneo Island was the only Cu-Au mine that operated in the country. During its operation (1975-1999), the mine produced 2.47 Mt of concentrate containing approximately 600,000 t of Cu, 45 t of Au and 294 t of Ag, and generated about 250 Mt of overburden and waste rocks and over 150 Mt of tailings, which were deposited at the 397 ha Lohan tailings storage facility, 15.8 km from the mine and 980 m lower in altitude. The MCM site presents challenges for environmental rehabilitation due to the presence of large volumes of sulphidic minerals wastes, the very high rainfall and the large volume of polluted mine pit water. This indicates that rehabilitation and treatment is costly, as for example, exceedingly large quantities of lime are needed for neutralisation of the acidic mine pit discharge. The MCM site has several unusual geochemical features on account of the concomitant occurrence of acid-forming sulphide porphyry rocks and alkaline serpentinite minerals, and unique biological features because of the very high plant diversity in its immediate surroundings. The site hence provides a valuable opportunity for researching natural acid neutralisation processes and mine rehabilitation in tropical areas. Today, the MCM site is surrounded by protected nature reserves (Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site, and Bukit Hampuan, a Class I Forest Reserve), and the environmental legacy prevents de-gazetting and inclusion in these protected area in the foreseeable future. This article presents a preliminary geochemical investigation of waste rocks, sediments, secondary precipitates, surface water chemistry and foliar elemental uptake in ferns, and discusses these results in light of their environmental significance for rehabilitation.
Colloid mobilization is a significant process governing colloid-associated transport of heavy metals in subsurface environments. It has been studied for the last three decades to understand this process. However, colloid mobilization and heavy metal transport in soil solutions have rarely been studied using soils in South Korea. We investigated the colloid mobilization in a variety of flow rates during sampling soil solutions in sand columns. The colloid concentrations were increased at low flow rates and in saturated regimes. Colloid concentrations increased 1000-fold higher at pH 9.2 than at pH 7.3 in the absence of 10 mM NaCl solution. In addition, those were fourfold higher in the absence than in the presence of the NaCl solution at pH 9.2. It was suggested that the mobility of colloids should be enhanced in porous media under the basic conditions and the low ionic strength. In real field soils, the concentrations of As, Cr, and Pb in soil solutions increased with the increase in colloid concentrations at initial momentarily changed soil water pressure, whereas the concentrations of Cd, Cu, Fe, Ni, Al, and Co lagged behind the colloid release. Therefore, physicochemical changes and heavy metal characteristics have important implications for colloid-facilitated transport during sampling soil solutions.