Environmental awareness over the past several decades has led to renewed interest in understanding and predicting the cycling and impacts of contaminants in environments at the Earth’s surface. This was formerly the remit of low-temperature geochemistry and mineralogy, and has been repackaged as “environmental geochemistry and mineralogy”. Contaminants are substances that have been added in sufficient quantities to exceed background, or natural concentrations. Although this definition suggests that contaminants can be any element or compound, recent research has focused on those (known as “pollutants”) that are potentially harmful to humans or ecosystems, namely, metals, metalloids, organic compounds, nutrients and radionuclides....

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