The Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-MS) was used to analyze 28 soil samples that were collected from selected public parks in Staten Island, New York. Using this method, major elements, heavy metals, and radioactive nuclides were detected and quantitatively analyzed. Heavy metals including Vanadium (V), Chromium (Cr), Cobalt (Co), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Arsenic (As), Tin (Sn), and Lead (Pb) were detected in moderate to high concentration. Radioactive elements including Uranium (U), Strontium (Sr), and Rubidium (Rb) were detected in high values, compared to the standards stated by The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Based on granulometric and microscopic analyses, the collected samples were classified as fine sand, clay, fine silt, and clayey sands. Due to the “cation exchange capacity”, the clayey soils in the study areas were good reservoirs for heavy metals and radioactive elements.
The presence of the heavy metals and radioactive elements in the soils of the study areas may originate from the reworking of sediments by natural or anthropogenic processes.