J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 671 - 674

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 671
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030392

Urban soil pollution and the playfields of small children

M. Jartun1, R.T. Ottesen1, 2 and E. Steinnes1

1  Department of Chemistry, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
2  Geological Survey of Norway, 7491 Trondheim, Norway

The chemical composition of urban surface soil in Tromsø, northern Norway has been mapped to describe the environmental load of toxic elements in different parts of the city. Surface soil samples were collected from 275 locations throughout the city center and nearby suburban areas. Natural background concentrations were determined in samples of the local bedrock. Surface soil in younger, suburban parts of the city shows low concentrations of heavy metals, reflecting the local geochemistry. The inner and older parts of the city are generally polluted with lead (Pb), zinc (Zn) and tin (Sn). The most important sources of this urban soil pollution are probably city fires, industrial and domestic waste, traffic, and shipyards. In this paper two different approaches have been used. First, as a result of the general mapping, 852 soil and sand samples from kindergartens and playgrounds were analyzed. In this study concentrations of arsenic (As) up to 1800 ppm were found, most likely due to the extensive use of CCA (copper, chromium, arsenic) impregnated wood in sandboxes and other playground equipment. This may represent a significant health risk especially to children having a high oral intake of contaminated sand and soil. Secondly a pattern of tin (Sn) concentrations was found in Tromsøcity with especially high values near shipyards. Further investigation indicated that this pattern most probably reflected the use of the highty toxic tributyltin (TBT). Thus détermination of total Sn in surface soils could be a cost-effective way to localize sources of TBT contamination in the environment.

© EDP Sciences 2003