The Sulcis-Iglesiente district (SW Sardinia, Italy) is one of the oldest and most important polymetallic mining areas in Italy. Large outcrops of sulfide and oxide ores, as well as the products of the long-lasting mining activity, are present throughout the district releasing significant quantities of metals and metalloids into the surrounding environment. Here are reported the concentrations of twenty-one elements determined in scalp hair samples from children (aged 11-13 years) living in different geochemical environments of southwestern Sardinia: Iglesias, hosting several abandoned mines, and the island of Sant’Antioco, not affected by significant base metal mineralization events. Trace element determinations were performed by ICP-MS. Statistically significant differences (p<0.01) in elemental concentration levels between the two study sites were found. Hair of children from Iglesias exhibited higher concentration values for Ag, Ba, Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, U, V, and Zn. Rubidium, V and U resulted more abundant at Sant’Antioco. Hair samples from Iglesias showed gender-related differences for a larger number of elements (Ag, Ba, Cd, Co, Cu, Ni, Sr, U and Zn) than at Sant’Antioco, where only U was significantly different. The above elemental concentrations in females were always higher than in male donors. Robust Principal Component Analysis operated on log-transformed elemental concentrations showed components indicative of a) sulphides ore minerals (PC1) reflecting the influence of the diffuse mineralization covering the entire study area, b) the presence of some bioavailable As sources (PC2) as As-rich pyrite and Fe-containing sphalerite and c) other sources of metals overlapping the diffuse mineralizations, as carbonate rocks and coal deposits (PC3). The results provided evidence of a potential risk of adverse effects on the health of the exposed population, with children living at Iglesias being greatly exposed to several metals and metalloids originated in mining tailings, enriched soils, waters and food.
|Numero di pagine||9|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2014|
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