Technical Superior Institute

Lisbon, Portugal

Technical Superior Institute

Lisbon, Portugal

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Pinto B.,New University of Lisbon | Partidario M.,Technical Superior Institute
Environment and History | Year: 2010

This study reviews the main changes of the vegetation and fauna in northern Portugal during the Holocene, using literature from palaeoecology, archaeology, history, writings from travellers and naturalists, maps of agriculture and forestry and expert consultation. The ecological history of this area shows a trend of forestry decline, with periods of recovery of the vegetation related to the decrease of human pres sure on natural resources. The deforestation began on the high plateaus of this region, extending later to the heavier and more productive soils of the valleys. In the beginning of the Holocene, the climate seems to have been the most important trigger of change in this area, but human impact probably became preponderant in the last 5000 years. The natural herbivorous fauna was probably reduced, with the extinction of species such as wild horse, aurochs and European beaver, and partially replaced by human action. Nevertheless, the high resilience of ecosystems has enabled their sustainability for eight millennia and has also allowed the recovery of the vegetation and fauna in the recent decades. © 2010 The White Horse Press.


Reis A.P.,University of Aveiro | Patinha C.,University of Aveiro | Ferreira Da Silva E.,University of Aveiro | Sousa A.,Technical Superior Institute | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Health Research | Year: 2010

This study intends to identify the spatial patterns of variation for some metals and metalloids, in soils and mosses, in the central region of Portugal. The purposes were: (i) to identify relationships amongst five elements (Cu, Pb, Zn, Cr and As) in three different media (topsoil, bottom soil and bryophytes) and with some site-specific characteristics, using Multiple Correspondence Analysis; (ii) to define spatial patterns of variation for the associations identified by Multiple Correspondence Analysis using Variography and Ordinary Kriging; and (iii) to assess atmospheric deposition as a source of heavy metals to the topsoil by crossing results with the biomonitors. The results indicated relatively low metal concentrations in soils and mosses. Some metal associations and dissociations were identified. The spatial patterns of variation of bottom and topsoil are distinct. There is some evidence that different site-specific characteristics control the spatial distribution of different elements. The areas within the central region of Portugal with a higher vulnerability to metal contamination were identified.


Reis A.P.,University of Aveiro | Patinha C.,University of Aveiro | Wragg J.,British Geological Survey | Dias A.C.,University of Aveiro | And 7 more authors.
Applied Geochemistry | Year: 2014

To assess the impact of potentially harmful elements in soil/dust on the health of children that use urban recreational areas to play outdoors, an urban survey of Lisbon, the largest city in Portugal was carried out, collecting soils and dusts from public gardens, parks, playgrounds and schoolyards. An exposure and risk assessment study for the incidental soil/dust ingestion of lead was carried out based on US EPA guidelines using a sub-set of 19 topsoil and 8 outdoor dusts, out of a total of 51 samples, incorporating oral bioaccessibility measurements using the Unified BARGE Method developed by the Bioaccessibility Research Group of Europe. The objectives are: (i) interpretation of soil and dust oral bioaccessibility measurements; (ii) assessment of site-specific exposure and non-carcinogenic risk posed by lead; (iii) hazard assessment for urban soil and dust with respect to children playing in outdoor recreational areas. The results show that significant fractions of Pb occur in bioaccessible forms, 24-100% in soils and 35-100% in dusts and the associated risk is greater for dust ingestion than for soil ingestion in Lisbon city recreational areas. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Reis A.P.,University of Aveiro | Patinha C.,University of Aveiro | Wragg J.,British Geological Survey | Dias A.C.,University of Aveiro | And 7 more authors.
Environmental Geochemistry and Health | Year: 2014

An urban survey of Lisbon, the largest city in Portugal, was carried out to investigate its environmental burden, emphasizing metallic elements and their public health impacts. This paper examines the geochemistry of lead (Pb) and its influence on human health data. A total of 51 soil samples were collected from urban recreational areas used by children to play outdoors. The semi-quantitative analysis of Pb was carried out by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry after an acid digestion. X-ray diffraction was used to characterize the soil mineralogy. The solid-phase distribution of Pb in the urban soils was investigated on a subset of 7 soils, out of a total of 51 samples, using a non-specific sequential extraction method coupled with chemometric analysis. Oral bioaccessibility measurements were obtained using the Unified BARGE Method developed by the Bioaccessibility Research Group of Europe. The objectives of the study are as follows: (1) investigation of Pb solid-phase distribution; (2) interpretation of Pb oral bioaccessibility measurements; (3) integration of metal geochemistry with human health data; and (4) understanding the influence of geochemistry and mineralogy on oral bioaccessibility. The results show that the bioaccessible fraction of Pb is lower when major metal fractions are associated with less soluble soil phases such as Fe oxyhydroxides, and more increased when the metal is in the highly soluble carbonate phase. However, there is some evidence that the proportion of carbonates in the soil environment is also a key control over the oral bioaccessibility of Pb, irrespective of its solid-phase fractionation. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Patinha C.,University of Aveiro | Reis A.P.,University of Aveiro | Ferreira Da Silva E.,University of Aveiro | Sousa A.J.,Technical Superior Institute
One Century of the Discovery of Arsenicosis in Latin America (1914-2014): As 2014 - Proceedings of the 5th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment | Year: 2014

Sequential selective extraction techniques are commonly used to fractionate the solidphase forms of metals in soils. Many sequential extraction procedures have been developed, and, despite numerous criticisms, they remain very useful. The aim of this study is the comparison of two sequential extraction schemes to study the solid phase distribution of arsenic in soil samples from an abandoned mining area. The results suggest that the leaching solutions used in Scheme II are more selective for the desired target phases. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group.


Reis A.P.,University of Aveiro | Patinha C.,University of Aveiro | Ferreira da Silva E.,University of Aveiro | Sousa A.J.,Technical Superior Institute
Environmental Geochemistry and Health | Year: 2012

The Marrancos gold mineralisation has a chemical assemblage of Fe-As-Se-Bi-Au-Ag-Te-(Cu-Pb-Zn-Sn-W). The -200 mesh of 144 topsoil samples was analysed by ICP-MS to determine total contents of 53 elements that include potentially harmful elements like Cd, As and Pb. The soil geochemistry shows that some trace elements occur in considerably high concentrations. On the basis of data for total metal concentrations, 10 topsoil samples were selected to carry out a metal fractionation study using a selective extraction method. A set of four leaches of increasing strength was used sequentially in the soil samples. Across the study area, there is some evidence of past mining and exploration activity, indicating that these soils may be locally disturbed. The shallow mineralised quartz veins were exploited for gold by the Romans. Several galleries were constructed during the 2nd World War, probably for the exploration of quartz-cassiterite-wolframite veins. However, the main mineralised body in depth was never explored. The results of metal fractionation show different partitions for the three elements. Total Cd concentrations in these soils are low, with a median value of 0.1 mg/kg. In average, 12% of total Cd is adsorbed by clays and/or co-precipitated with carbonates, and 19% is bounded to Fe-Mn oxyhydroxides. However, the low concentrations indicate that the metal does not represent an immediate risk to human health. For Pb, metal fractionation shows that, on average, 22% of Pb is adsorbed by amorphous Fe and Mn oxides, but the samples from the northern part of the area have the major fractions of Pb in soluble forms. The low probability of exposure in this part of the study area decreases the risk posed by this heavy metal. Total As concentrations in the Marrancos soils are extremely high. A large area has As concentrations above 1,000 mg/kg. For As, metal fractions in the sulphide phase vary between 84 and 98% in the studied samples. But one sample has 20% of total As in easily reducible forms, corresponding to a partial concentration of 1,800 mg/kg that has a high probability of being bioavailable. The most labile As forms occur at the southern part of the area, where the probability of exposure is higher and the risk of human health increases in the same order. From the three studied potentially harmful elements, As is certainly the element of concern. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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