Compositional-geochemical characterization of lead (Pb) anomalies and Pb-induced human health risk in urban topsoil



Tepanosyan G.,

Gevorgyan A.,

Albanese S., L

Baghdasaryan L.,

Sahakyan L.




Urban areas are characterized by a constant anthropogenic input, which is manifested in the chemical composition of the surface layer of urban soil. The consequence is the formation of intense anomalies of chemical elements, including lead (Pb), that are atypical for this landscape. Therefore, this study aims to explore the compositional-geochemical characteristics of soil Pb anomalies in the urban areas of Yerevan, Gyumri, and Vanadzor, and to identify the geochemical associations of Pb that emerge under prevalent anthropogenic influences in these urban areas. The results obtained through the combined use of compositional data analysis and geospatial mapping showed that the investigated Pb anomalies in different cities form source-specific geochemical associations influenced by historical and ongoing activities, as well as the natural geochemical behavior of chemical elements occurring in these areas. Specifically, in Yerevan, Pb was closely linked with Cu and Zn, forming a group of persistent anthropogenic tracers of urban areas. In contrast, in Gyumri and Vanadzor, Pb was linked with Ca, suggesting that over decades, complexation of Pb by Ca carbonates occurred. These patterns of compositional-geochemical characteristics of Pb anomalies are directly linked to the socio-economic development of cities and the various emission sources present in their environments during different periods. The human health risk assessment showed that children are under the Pb-induced non-carcinogenic risk by a certainty of 63.59% in Yerevan and 50% both in Gyumri and Vanadzor.