Distribution of trace element pollutants in a contaminated ecosystem established on metalliferous fluorspar tailings. 3: Fluoride

S. M. Andrews, J. A. Cooke, M. S. Johnson

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High total soil fluoride (10 000 μg g-1) in the metalliferous fluorspar tailings was reflected by elevated concentrations in standing live vegetation (300-1000 μg g-1); plant roots (c. 6000 μg g-1); plant litter (c. 4000 μg g-1); total body concentrations of invertebrates (400-4000 μg g-1) and the small mammals Microtus agrestis (120-360 μg g-1) and Sorex araneus (140-250 μg g-1). Seasonal changes in the standing live vegetation and the availability of soil fluoride to plants are discussed. Seasonal changes in total body concentrations of the small mammals were related to the age structure of the populations as well as dietary levels. In the small mammals, the concentration ratios were < 0·5 at the tailings dam and > 1·1 at the control site, indicating that both species were able to regulate fluoride accumulation at the higher levels of intake. Soft tissue concentrations were, as expected, very low compared to the hard tissues but, still, were generally significantly higher at the tailings dam compared to the control site. Evidence of dental fluorosis was found in Microtus agrestis, but not Sorex araneus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-179
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1989


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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