Abstract

The involvement of the Geological Survey of Canada in the North American Soil Geochemical Landscapes Project from 2004 to 2009 led to the development of protocols to support environmental and human health risk assessments. Recommendations for acquiring soil samples, analysing them and the resulting geochemical data to support risk assessments, as well as outlines of a procedure for estimating geochemical background are presented. The following practices are proposed: (1) collection of soil samples from pedological horizons (C-horizon in particular) rather than depth-based intervals; (2) use of a spatially random sample design; (3) analysis of the unmilled <2-mm fraction; (4) dissolution using the US EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) (US EPA) Method 3050B aqua regia variant; (5) archiving of sample splits; and (6) evaluation of chemical data through the insertion, analysis and monitoring of QA/QC samples. Part of the Canadian project was also the in-situ measurement of soil gas radon and the radiometric estimates of soil K, U and Th concentrations, the protocols for which are discussed.

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