Tracking historical mobility behavior and sources of lead in the 59-year sediment core from the Huaihe River using lead isotopic compositions

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Jie Wang
  • Guijian Liu
  • Houqi Liu
  • Paul K.S. Lam


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-593
Journal / PublicationChemosphere
Online published8 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


A historical perspective of past 59 years (1955–2014) for contamination and isotopic composition of Pb in sediment core system of the Huaihe River, Huainan City, Anhui Province of China is presented. Detailed investigation regarding changes in Pb sources, enrichment factor, sequential extraction and isotopic analysis revealed that high Pb concentrations were detected along the core, especially during the first two decades (1955–1974). Large variations in Pb isotopic compositions were observed, with 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/207Pb values ranging from 1.1504–1.1694, and 2.0817–2.1380, respectively. Diverse Pb sources were identified for sediment contamination over the time. Among anthropogenic sources, metallurgic dust and leaded petrol were on top during 1955–1974, especially when the Great Leap Forward Movement (1958–1960) was in progress in China, the time numerous small industries were established without wastewater treatment facility. However, coal and coal combustion were recognized as the primary sources of Pb emissions for the recent four decades (1974–2014) due to tremendous increase of coal consumption for power and heat generation. Unleaded vehicle exhaust, waste incineration and industrial emission were also sources of Pb during the years 1974–2014. Our estimates based on geochemical and lead isotopic approaches have shown that anthropogenic Pb contributions varied from 4.35 to 92.01%, and 13.28–99.06%, respectively. Assessment of lead speciation indicated an overwhelming presence of reducible fraction (Fe-Mn hydro-(oxides)) in the sediment core, except during 1995–1997, which was thought to be affected by water pollution accidents caused by heavy rainfall.

Research Area(s)

  • Anthropogenic Pb contribution, Geochemical fraction, Stable Pb isotopes