Distribution of arsenic and risk assessment of activities on a golf course fertilised with arsenic-containing Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed

Antonia O'Neill, Bhaskar Sen Gupta, Debra Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The use of seaweed fertilisers in sports green maintenance has become a common practice across the globe due to its image as an ?eco-friendly? alternative to chemical fertilisers. The aim of this study was to characterise the risk of human exposure to arsenic (As), via dermal absorption, from golfing activities on a private golf course in the UK, where As contaminated seaweed fertiliser (~ 100 mg/kg d.wt.) is applied. This was fulfilled by, 1) determining As concentrations in shallow soils with GIS geo-statistical analysis, 2) measuring As concentrations from an on-site borehole groundwater well, and (3) developing a risk assessment calculation for golfing activities based on field and questionnaire data. Total As concentrations in shallow soils were less than the UK threshold for domestic soils, however, frequent and sustained dermal contact between site-users and surface soil attributed to a maximum carcinogenic risk value of 2.75 × 10? 4, which is in the upper limit of the acceptable risk range. Arsenic concentrations in underlying groundwater exceeded the WHO's permissible drinking water standard, demonstrating the risk of groundwater contamination following the application of seaweed fertiliser to golf course soils. This is the first risk study on dermal As absorption via the application of a seaweed fertiliser.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-259
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume482-483
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Arsenic, seaweed fertiliser, golf course, soil, groundwater, risk characterisation.

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