chapter  3
16 Pages

Phytostabilization of arsenic

ByClaes Bergqvist & Maria Greger

Pollutants from natural and anthropogenic sources can contaminate areas, having severe effects on natural ecosystems and human land use. Sites contaminated due to military or industrial activities, including wood impregnation, oil refining, gas or coal processing, and ammunition and pesticide production, are often contaminated with arsenic (As) and in need of restoration. In certain sedimentary rocks, such as shales, with a high organic content, As levels can be elevated. Certain areas that contain high levels of toxic pollutants including As are so extensive that other forms of remediation than stabilization are unrealistic. At such sites, natural vegetative growth is often scarce due to high pollutant and/or low nutrient levels. Unvegetated areas may cause problems for both human and animal populations, for example, due to inhalation of contaminated airborne particles or through food chains (Mench et al., 2000).