Current state and dynamics of heavy metal soil pollution in Russian Federation-A review

Environ Pollut. 2019 Jun;249:200-207. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.03.020. Epub 2019 Mar 9.


The assessment of the current state and dynamics of heavy metal (HM) soil pollution in Russia is compiled based on the data published in open scientific journals and reporting documents of the environmental agencies using a number of indicators (background concentration, maximum permissible concentrations (MPC), tentative permissible concentrations (TPC) and total pollution index Z). The main attention is paid to the situation with punctual pollution of the heavily contaminated sites, and to the diffuse pollution of urban soils and agricultural lands. In impact zones of large industrial centres, because of the decrease in HM emissions, no additional soil pollution was registered since 2007. However, despite a sharp decline in HM input into soils, the level of pollutants in soils next to industrial enterprises remains high, because soils accumulate metals in the bound species. For urban soils and suburbs, a decrease in Pb content was documented in sites, where soil remediation measures have been implemented. The results of the survey compiled in 2008-2017, for settlements located in different regions of the Russia, showed that according to state regulations, the 1.7% of investigated lands can be considered as "dangerous", 9.1% as "moderately dangerous" and 89.2% as "permissible", in respect to soil HM pollution. For agricultural lands, it was showed that the average content of mobile species of Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr and Hg are below the permissible limits and tend to decrease. The agricultural soils with the HM concentrations above the critical limits constitute a few percent of the total area of the surveyed arable lands. For a better assessment of soil pollution of Russia, it is necessary to increase the area of surveys, to unify approaches to select the pollution indicators and to develop regulatory standards dependent on land use.

Keywords: Agricultural lands; Contamination; Monitoring; Regulation; Urban soils.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Environmental Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Industry
  • Mercury
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Russia
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Mercury