This study aimed to determine the concentration levels, potential sources and ecological risks of eleven trace elements, namely Cr, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, As, Sb, Cd, Zn, Hg and Pb, in the soil from Huangpi district, Wuhan, Central China. Soil samples were collected from eighteen sites at soil depths of 1–10 and 10–20 cm and analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer ICP-MS (Thermo X SERIES 2, Scientific and Innovative Technology Co. Ltd., Beijing, China). The recorded mean concentration of the elements were in a decreasing order of Fe > Co > Cr > Ni > Pb > Cu > As > Cd > Sb > Zn > Hg. The mean concentration of trace elements, soil pH and total organic carbon (TOC) were higher at a soil depth of 1–10 cm. The obtained mean concentration of Cr, Co, As, Cd, Ni, Cu, Hg and Pb were above the soil background values of Wuhan and Hubei Province. The mean concentration values of Co, Ni and Cd, exceeded the recommended FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization)/ISRIC (International Soil Reference and Information Centre) (2004) and WHO/FAO (2001) values. Pearson’s correlation analysis illustrated that there was a strong and significant correlation between trace elements, whereas, a weak positive and negative correlation between elements and soil properties (pH and TOC). The principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (CA) result indicated that the concentration of trace elements in Huangpi soil were originated from anthropogenic sources. Potential ecological risk index (RI) of this study revealed that there is a high ecological risk of trace elements in the soil. Enrichment factor (EF) and geo-accumulation index (Igeo
) of trace elements for this study indicated that the study area is strongly contaminated with Cd and Co. Generally, the finding of this research showed that Huangpi soil is contaminated.
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