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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon in urban soils of the Eastern European megalopolis: distribution, source identification and cancer risk evaluation
George Avtandilovich Shamilishvily1, Evgenii Vasil'evich Abakumov1, and Dmitrii Nikolaevich Gabov2 1St. Petersburg State University, Dept. of Applied Ecology, St. Petersburg, Russia
2Komi Biological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Syktyvkar, Russia
Abstract. The study explores qualitative and quantitative composition of 15 priority PAHs in urban soils of some parkland, residential and industrial areas of the large industrial center in the Eastern Europe on example of Saint-Petersburg (Russian Federation). Aim of the study was to test the hypothesis on the PAH loading differences between urban territories with different land use scenarios. Qualitative and quantitative determination of PAHs in soils was carried out by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Benzo(a)pyrene toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) were used to estimate benzo(a)pyrene equivalent (BaPeq) concentrations in order to evaluate carcinogenic risk of soil contamination with PAHs. Results of the study demonstrated that soils within urban areas with different land utilization types are characterized by common loads of PAHs generally attributed to high traffic activity in the city. Considerable levels of soil contamination with PAHs were noted. Total PAH concentrations ranged from 0.33 to 8.10 mg kg−1 and showed no significant differences between land utilization types. The common tendency in PAH distribution patterns between investigated sites clearly indicates the common source of PAHs in urban soils. A larger portion of high molecular weight PAHs along with determined molecular ratios suggest the predominance of pyrogenic sources, mainly attributed to combustion of gasoline, diesel and oil. Petrogenic sources of PAHs have a significant portion as well defining the predominance of petroleum associated low molecular weight PAHs such as phenanthrene. Derived concentrations of 7 carcinogenic PAHs as well as calculated BaP total potency equivalents were multiple times higher than reported in a number of other studies, indicating a significant risk for human health in case of direct contact. The obtained BaPeq concentrations of the sum of 15 PAHs ranged from 0.05 to 1.39 mg kg−1. A vast majority of examined samples showed concentrations above the safe value of 0.6 mg kg−1 (CCME, 2010). One-way ANOVA results showed significant differences in levels of pyrene, fluoranthene and phenanthrene – the most abundant individual PAHs in examined sampled, between parkland, residential and industrial land uses, suggesting the influence of land use factor on distribution of these pollutants. Exposure to these soils through direct contact probably poses a significant risk to human health from carcinogenic effects of PAHs, even in urban parklands.

Citation: Shamilishvily, G. A., Abakumov, E. V., and Gabov, D. N.: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon in urban soils of the Eastern European megalopolis: distribution, source identification and cancer risk evaluation, Solid Earth Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
George Avtandilovich Shamilishvily et al.
George Avtandilovich Shamilishvily et al.
George Avtandilovich Shamilishvily et al.


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