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Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Geochemical signatures and human health risk evaluation of rare earth elements in soils and plants of the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China

Abstract

Information on rare earth elements (REEs) in soils and plants of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is very limited. Therefore, in this study, we performed field sampling to explore the geochemical signatures and human health risk of REEs in soils and plants of the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. A total of 127 soil samples and 127 plant samples were collected from the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to acquire the geochemical signatures and related human health risks of REEs. The mean total concentrations of REEs in soils and plants of the study area reached 178.55 and 10.06 mg/kg, respectively. The light REEs in soils and plants accounted for 76% and 77% of the total REEs, respectively. REEs showed significantly homogenous distribution in soils but inhomogeneous distribution in plants of the study area. Characteristic parameters indicated that light REEs were enriched and fractionated significantly, while heavy REEs were moderately fractionated in soils and plants. REEs in soils and plants showed significantly negative Europium anomaly. Cerium showed slightly positive anomaly in plants and slight anomaly in soils. The normalized distribution patterns of REEs were generally similar in the analyzed soils and the corresponding plants of the study area. The average bio-concentration factor of REEs ranged from 0.0478 (Scandium) to 0.0604 (Europium), confirming a small accumulation of REEs by plants. Health risks caused by REEs in soils and plants were negligible, while risks for adults were lower than those for children. This study provides important information on REEs in soils and plants of the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Keywords

rare earth elements, geochemical signatures, human health risk, carcinogenic risk, bio-concentration factor, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

First Page

1258

Last Page

1273

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