Chapter two: Chromium contamination and its risk assessment in complex environmental settings

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Choppala, G, Bolan, N & Park JH 2013, 'Chapter two: Chromium contamination and its risk assessment in complex environmental settings', Advances in Agronomy, vol. 120, pp. 129-172.

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Chromium reaches the soil environment through waste disposal emanating from a number of industrial activities, including coal-fired power production, electroplating, leather tanning, timber treatment, pulp production, and mineral ore and petroleum refining. Of the heavy metals, chromium (Cr) is a major pollutant, poses a great threat to flora and fauna and persists for long time. The most abundant species of Cr—Cr(III) and Cr(VI)—have very different properties. The toxicity, mobility, and bioavailability of Cr mainly depend on its speciation. In the natural environment, Cr(III) is most immobile, less soluble and stable, whereas Cr(VI) is highly mobile, soluble and bioavailable. Redox reactions play an important role in the interconversion of Cr(VI) and Cr(III). As our awareness of the rising toxicity of Cr increases, it is necessary to develop new and advanced strategies to mitigate this toxicity in the environment. Several physicochemical methods have been developed but these techniques are expensive and are not readily applicable to large contaminated zones. This chapter provides an overview of the concepts of Cr biogeochemistry, bioavailability and integrated risk management. The physicochemical factors, speciation and toxicity have been discussed with special emphasis on the remediation methods due to the complex reactions associated with Cr toxicity mitigation. Furthermore, this study identified systematically the future needs for understanding Cr biogeochemistry and low-cost remediation methods.

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