Assessment of physical and chemical properties, health risk of trace metals and quality indices of surface waters of the rivers and lakes of the Kola Peninsula (Murmansk Region, North-West Russia)

Environ Geochem Health. 2021 Jul 20. doi: 10.1007/s10653-021-01027-5. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The pollution of waterbodies with trace metals is of concern throughout the world due to their high toxicity. One of the main anthropogenic sources of trace metals entering natural waters is the mining and processing of minerals. Intensive development of the mining industry on the Kola Peninsula (the Murmansk region, Russia), exploration and development of new mineral resources have led to a sharp deterioration in the quality of surface waters of rivers and lakes. As a result of anthropogenic impact, accumulation of a wide range of metals (mainly Cu, Ni, Co, Pb, Cd, Mn, Sr, Al and Fe) is observed, as well as significant changes in the physicochemical parameters and radioactive conditions of surface waters. The most polluted waterbodies of the Kola Peninsula are located in the Monchegorsk, Olenegorsk and Apatit regions. Consumption of water from investigated contaminated sources can cause various high risks of human health. The results of this study will provide an informative basis for future risk assessments of the environment and human health, as well as for the development of integrated measures for managing the quality of surface waters of lakes and rivers of the Kola Peninsula.

Keywords: Human health risk; Physicochemical properties; Radioactive pollution; Surface water; Trace metals; Water quality indices.