Chapter 8 Fate and Effects of Pollutants on the Land Environment

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Abdel-Mohsen Onsy Mohamed
Evan K. Paleologos

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

Fundamentals of Geoenvironmental Engineering

Publication Date



This chapter discusses initially the different pathways (soils, sediments, water, and air) through which contaminants are transported and become available to organisms and people posing health risks. The concept of bioavailability, the physical, chemical, and biological processes that define the exposure of plants and animals to chemicals is discussed as it relates to different scientific disciplines. Inorganic and organic contaminants can be retained in soils and sediments, and hence not available to living organisms under variable conditions. The chapter details further the main mechanisms of retention of different classes of chemicals, the conditions under which they can be immobilized or become mobile and travel within the water, and the type of soil material that can react and retain chemicals. The chapter discusses also the ecotoxicological hazard potential of contaminants by detailing their most important physicochemical, fate and effect parameters, and some of the methods to determine them. Calculations are also provided through the hazard quotient risk tool for persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which enables risk-based analyses to prioritize and manage POPs and other hazardous substance contaminated sites. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion on particulate matter, its sources and health effects, and ambient air quality standards.




Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 11 1992

First Page


Last Page



Environmental Engineering

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access