Transformation and fate of thallium and accompanying metal(loid)s in paddy soils and rice: A case study from a large-scale industrial area in China.

Abstract Thallium (Tl) is an extremely toxic metal, while its occurrence and fate in paddy soil environment remain understudied. Herein, the enrichment and migration mechanisms and potential health risks of Tl and metal(loid)s were evaluated in paddy soils surrounding an industrial park utilizing Tl-bearing minerals. The results showed that Tl contamination was evident (0.63–3.16 mg/kg) in the paddy soils and Tl was generally enriched in root of rice (Oryza sativa L.) with a mean content of 1.27 mg/kg. A remarkably high level of Tl(III) (30–50%) was observed in the paddy soils. Further analyses by STEM-EDS and XPS indicated that Tl(I) in the paddy soils was jointly controlled by adsorption, oxidation, and precipitation of Fe/Mn(hydr)oxide (e.g. hematite and birnessite), which might act as important stabilization mechanisms for inhibiting potential Tl uptake by rice grains. The health quotient (HQ) values indicated a potentially high Tl risk for inhabitants via consumption of the rice grains. Therefore, it is critical to establish effective measures for controlling the discharge of Tl-containing waste and wastewater from different industrial activities to ensure food safety in the rice paddy soils.
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