Concentrations and bioaccessibility of metals in vegetation and dust near a mining haul road, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Alaska

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
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Abstract

Vegetation, sub-surface peat, and road dust were sampled near the Delong Mountain Transportation System (DMTS) haul road in northwest Alaska in 2005-2006 to document aluminum, barium, cadmium, lead, and zinc concentrations, and to evaluate bioaccessibility of these metals. The DMTS haul road is the transport corridor between Red Dog Mine (a large-scale, lead-zinc mine and mill) and the coastal shipping port, and it traverses National Park Service lands. Compared to reference locations, total metal concentrations in four types of vegetation (birch, cranberry, and willow leaves, and cotton grass blades/stalks) collected 25 m from the haul road were enriched on average by factors of 3.5 for zinc, 8.0 for barium, 20 for cadmium, and 150 for lead. Triple rinsing of vegetation with a water/methanol mixture reduced metals concentrations by at most 50%, and cadmium and zinc concentrations were least affected by rinsing. Cadmium and zinc bioaccessibility was greater in vegetation (50% to 100%) than in dust (15% to 20%); whereas the opposite pattern was observed for lead bioaccessibility (<30% in vegetation; 50% in dust). Barium exhibited low-to-intermediate bioaccessibility in dust and vegetation (20% to 40%), whereas aluminum bioaccessibility was relatively low (<6%) in all sample types. Our reconnaissance-level study indicates that clean-up and improvements in lead/zinc concentrate transfer activities have been effective; however, as of 2006, metal dispersion from past and/or present releases of fugitive dusts along the DMTS road still may have been contributing to elevated metals in surface vegetation. Vegetation was most enriched in lead, but because bioaccessibility of cadmium was greater, any potential risks to animals that forage near the haul road might be equally important for both of these metals. ?? 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA).
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Concentrations and bioaccessibility of metals in vegetation and dust near a mining haul road, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Alaska
Series title Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
DOI 10.1007/s10661-011-1879-z
Volume 182
Issue 1-4
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
First page 325
Last page 340
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