Arsenic in agricultural and grazing land soils of Europe

Timo Tarvainen, Stefano Albanese, Manfred Birke, Michal Poňaviĉ, Clemens Reimann, M. Andersson, A. Arnoldussen, R. Baritz, M. J. Batista, A. Bel-Lan, D. Cicchella, A. Demetriades, B. De Vivo, E. Dinelli, W. De Vos, M. Duris, A. Dusza-Dobek, O. A. Eggen, M. Eklund, V. ErnstsenP. Filzmoser, T. E. Finne, D. Flight, S. Forrester, M. Fuchs, U. Fugedi, A. Gilucis, M. Gosar, V. Gregorauskiene, A. Gulan, J. Halamić, E. Haslinger, P. Hayoz, G. Hobiger, R. Hoffmann, J. Hoogewerff, H. Hrvatovic, S. Husnjak, L. Janik, C. Johnson, G. Jordan, J. Kirby, J. Kivisilla, V. Klos, F. Krone, P. Kwecko, L. Kuti, A. Ladenberger, A. Lima, J. Locutura, P. Lucivjansky, D. Mackovych, B. I. Malyuk, R. Maquil, M. J. McLaughlin, R. G. Meuli, N. Miosic, G. Mol, P. Négrel, P. O'Connor, K. Oorts, R. T. Ottesen, A. Pasieczna, V. Petersell, S. Pfleiderer, C. Prazeres, U. Rauch, Salpeteur, A. Schedl, A. Scheib, I. Schoeters, P. Sefcik, E. Sellersjö, F. Skopljak, I. Slaninka, A. Šorša, R. Srvkota, T. Stafilov, V. Trendavilov, P. Valera, V. Verougstraete, D. Vidojević, A. M. Zissimos, Z. Zomeni

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79 Citations (Scopus)


Arsenic concentrations are reported for the <2mm fraction of ca. 2200 soil samples each from agricultural (Ap horizon, 0-20cm) and grazing land (Gr, 0-10cm), covering western Europe at a sample density of 1site/2500km2. Median As concentrations in an aqua regia extraction determined by inductively coupled plasma emission mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) were 5.7mg/kg for the Ap samples and 5.8mg/kg for the Gr samples. The median for the total As concentration as determined by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) was 7mg/kg in both soil materials. Maps of the As distribution for both land-use types (Ap and Gr) show a very similar geographical distribution. The dominant feature in both maps is the southern margin of the former glacial cover seen in the form of a sharp boundary between northern and southern European As concentrations. In fact, the median As concentration in the agricultural soils of southern Europe was found to be more than 3-fold higher than in those of northern Europe (Ap: aqua regia: 2.5 vs. 8.0mg/kg; total: 3 vs. 10mg/kg). Most of the As anomalies on the maps can be directly linked to geology (ore occurrences, As-rich rock types). However, some features have an anthropogenic origin. The new data define the geochemical background of As in agricultural soils at the European scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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