Antimony and Its Effects on the Components of Environment

Document Type : Technical note


1 department of soil science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran.

2 Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran.


Nowadays, one of the environmental issues is pollution of soil, water and plants resources with heavy metals. Antimony (Sb) is one of the most dangerous heavy metals, which by accumulation in the plant and animal tissues and transmission to the food chain, endangers human health. The critical limit for Sb in drinking water has been determined by the European Union and the United States to be 5 and 6 μg/l, respectively. The World Health Organization has reported this limit for the soil, 35 mg/kg. Exposure to Sb with various concentrations can cause a variety of diseases, cancers and genetic defects in humans. In addition, it causes keratitis, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and gastritis. Concentrations above the critical Sb level in the soil can cause oxidative stress and reduce plant biomass, germination, root length, plant height, and plant photosynthesis. This element has a negative effect on microbial communities and soil enzymes and the rate of inhibition of soil microbial populations has been reported as bacteria> fungi> actinomyces. In general, the absorption of Sb by plants in acid soils is lower than calcareous soils and solutions for reducing Sb absorption in calcareous soils are to use phosphate fertilizers (antagonistic effect of phosphorus with Sb), fertilizers containing sulfur and the use of organic materials. Considering the existence of two volcanic formations in the country (Urmia-Dokhtar and East of the country formation) that contain various types of heavy metals, including Sb and increasing the exploitation and the number of Sb mines in the provinces of West Azerbaijan, Sistan and Baluchestan, Kurdistan, and Khorasan Razavi, it seems necessary determining the pollution levels of the water and soil resources of these provinces, as well as the provinces located on the two above-mentioned formations. Also, in the provinces of West Azerbaijan and Sistan and Baluchestan, the treatment of drinking water in terms of contamination with Sb should be on the government's agenda.


Main Subjects

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