Geochemical background - an environmental perspective

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Geochemical background - an environmental perspective

This article presents the concept of geochemical background from an environmental perspective. The idea of establishing the typical concentrations of elements in various environmental compartments, proposed by exploratory geochemists almost 50 years ago was important for the detection of anomalous element concentrations, thus providing a basic tool in the search for new mineral deposits. At present, the knowledge of the geochemical background of hazardous elements is essential for: defining pollution, identifying the source of contamination, and for establishing reliable environmental quality criteria for soils, sediments and surface waters. The article presents geochemical methods of evaluation of anthropogenic influence on the environment and discusses the problem of defining and understanding the term "geochemical background" and related terms in environmental sciences. It also briefly presents methods of geochemical background evaluation based on the results of environmental sample analyses. It stresses the role of geochemical background in our understanding of environmental pollution and pollution prevention.

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