Inorganic and organic characterization of Santa Lucía salt mine peloid for quality evaluations

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 May;27(14):15944-15958. doi: 10.1007/s11356-019-04790-2. Epub 2019 Mar 21.


Santa Lucía peloid is a sediment used in pelotherapy in Cuban primary health care services. Therefore, in addition to physicochemical regulated parameters, other analyses are required to complement their physicochemical characterization and understand potential element mobility, radiological risk, and toxicity as well as likely bioactive compounds present in Santa Lucía peloid. For these purposes, inorganic and organic elements and compounds were considered to evaluate Santa Lucía peloid's quality. This was accomplished through an integral approach that included (1) determination of physicochemical parameters (pH, electrical conductivity, oxidation-reduction potential, temperature, dissolved oxygen, elemental C, H, and N analyses, organic matter, and hexane removable substances content); (2) determination of total concentration of elements with biological and toxicological importance (i.e., Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn), as well as their distribution in operationally defined solid phases, mineralogy, particle size distribution, and total content of radionuclides and radiological dose calculations; and (3) its organic characterization. Results from this study showed that Santa Lucía peloid was non-contaminated and showed low metal mobility and acceptable radiological dose levels, being safe for therapeutic uses. Additionally, these results contribute to the understanding of the organic composition of peloides, provide strong evidences to scientifically explain the therapeutic action of peloids in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, and set a new frame to improve peloid guidelines in Cuba and other countries.

Keywords: Mobility; Organic; Peloid; Quality; Radionuclide; Santa Lucía; Sediment; Trace elements.

MeSH terms

  • Cuba
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Metals / analysis*
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary


  • Metals
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Oxygen