Inorganic Contaminants in Urban Soils

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


If, in the absence of prior knowledge, we were to guess one feature of urban soils, we might assume that pollution with hazardous inorganic substances, such as ‘heavy metals’ or asbestos, would be widespread. In many cases this is true, and so this chapter deals with the topic of inorganic contaminants in urban soils. We identify nutrients, metals and metalloids, asbestos, plastics, manufactured nanoparticles, radionuclides, and cyanide as contaminants of concern and discuss their sources in urban soils. In addition, we cover the formation and properties of acid sulphate soils. Following this, we explain the behaviour of inorganic contaminants, going into some more detail on soil chemical reactions than was presented in Chap. 4. The discussion addresses the effects of transport processes, time, and soil properties on the relevant chemical reactions. Some further discussion of bioavailability is coupled with a discussion of the effects of urban soil contamination on ecosystem services. The later sections present methods for soil chemical analyses and concepts for understanding soil chemical data. The analytical method component covers total and partial elemental analyses and field measurements. Following this, we examine the concepts of background concentrations, regulatory contamination thresholds, separation of geogenic and anthropogenic sources of contaminants, and contamination indices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Soils
Subtitle of host publicationPrinciples and Practice
EditorsAndrew Rate
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-87316-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-87315-8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameProgress in Soil Science
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISSN (Print)2352-4774
ISSN (Electronic)2352-4782


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