Mechanisms for Translocation of Heavy Metals from Soil to Epigeal Mosses
The mosses Pleurozium schreberi, Pseudoscleropodium purum and Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus were used as biomonitors to study the atmospheric deposition of metals around the lead and copper-zinc smelters in Baia Mare. Samples representing the last three years’ growth of moss or its green part, collected on the ground at 28 sites located 2–17 km from the source area, were analyzed by instrumental neutron activation analysis using epithermal neutrons (ENAA) and by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). A total of 31 elements were determined, including most of the heavy metals characteristic of emissions from this kind of industry. The observed data for Pb, As, Cu, and Cd are all high compared with those observed in other regions of Europe with similar industries, but the concentrations in moss approach regional background levels at a distance of about 8 km from the main source area. Factor analysis of the data distinguishes two industrial components, one characterized by Pb, Cu, As, and Sb, and another one by Zn and Cd. A strong crustal component including five major elements (Na, Mg, Al, Ti, Fe) and an additional number of trace elements (Sc, V, Cr, Cs, Ba, REE, Th) also appears to be derived mainly from industrial sources. The mean I value in the present material is 5 times lower than the corresponding level in moss in Norway, and also consistently lower than elsewhere in Europe, a fact which evidences the endemic character of the examined area due to iodine depletion.