Potentially toxic elements (PTE) are considered to be dangerous threats, both for human health and the environment. Here, the contamination level, sources, and ecological risks posed by PTE were investigated in 19 topsoils from agricultural lands in the Bandar Abbas County on the southern coast of Iran. The soil fraction <63 μm was used for the analysis of the pseudototal contents of PTE (arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium, and zinc). The results were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA) and Pearson’s correlations, different pollution indices [enrichment factor (EF), contamination factor (Cf), and modified degree of contamination (mCd), and the potential ecological risk index (PERI). The results of the pollution indices showed that the contamination levels of the studied agricultural soils are low to moderate, while the average PERI values indicate that the ecological risks of PTE range from low to high in the soils of the studied area. Correlations and PCA analyses suggest that studied elements have three possible origins: geogenic (chromium, cobalt, copper, manganese, vanadium, and zinc), anthropogenic (cadmium, nickel, phosphorus and lead) and atmospheric (arsenic) sources. These findings are helpful for the long-term assessment of PTE in the Bandar Abbas County.
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