It is important to examine mechanisms of Pb and Cd sorption in soils to understand their bioavailability. The ability of three tropical soils to retain Pb, Cd, and Ca was evaluated. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the extent to which soil sorption sites are metal specific, (2) investigate the nature of reactions between metals and soil surfaces, and (3) identify how metals compete for sorption sites when they are introduced to soils sequentially or concurrently. Lead was shown to be much less exchangeable than Cd and inhibited Cd sorption. Cadmium had little effect on Pb sorption, though both Ca and Cd inhibited the adsorption of Pb at exchange sites. Lead appears to more readily undergo inner-sphere surface complexation with soil surface functional groups than either Cd or Ca. Thus, regardless of when Pb is introduced to a soil, it should be less labile than Cd.
The sorption and desorption of Pb and Cd in tropical soils is strongly influenced by the order in which these metals enter the soil environment.
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