Rare earth elements in the environment: concentrations, migration characteristics and methods of determination (review)
D.B. Petrenko, K.G. Erofeeva, O.I. Okina
Section: Theoretical problems of ecology
The growing use of rare earth elements (REEs) in metallurgy, glass production, automotive catalytic converters and high-tech industries, and many other areas leads to increased concentrations in soils, water, plants, and other environmental objects. Thus, the REE abundances in sediments, sedimentary rocks, soil, water, and organic residues are becoming critical ecological indicators of anthropogenic environmental change. This work summarizes the data on the concentrations,its geochemical features, and methods for REE determination. The primary attention is paid to the analysis of the last 15 years’ publications.
The features of REEs that control their distribution in various natural environments are lanthanide compression, double-double effect, chemical composition, and environmental conditions (pH, Eh, concentrations of inorganic and organic ligands). The oxidation state of +3 is most typical for REEs; Ce and Eu can change their oxidation states by +4 and +2 under oxidizing and reducing conditions, respectively, and are separated from the other REEs. The geochemical cycle of REE is considered, natural and anthropogenic factors determining the migration of elements between its components are discussed. Their low concentrations complicate the determination of REE concentrations in natural environments. It requires the use of sensitive methods of chemical analysis, the most important of which are atomic spectroscopy. In addition to traditional methods of analysis, local methods for determining the concentrations of REEs, such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry with laser ablation and mass spectrometry of secondary ions, are widely and successfully used today.