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Environmental fate & pathways

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Silicon is very ubiquitous in the aquatic and terrestrial environments. Natural background concentrations dominate the total Si concentration in the environment. Anthropogenic releases of elemental silicon is transformed/oxidized to silica (SiO2) in the environment Anthropogenic sources can be expected to have no influence or only insignificant influence on background levels of silica. High quality background levels measurements data of silicon in the European environment is available (source: Geochemical Atlas of Europe; copyright © 2005 the Association of the Geological Surveys of The European Union (EuroGeoSurveys)/ the Geological Survey of Finland).The geochemical data are based on the analysis of samples of stream water, stream sediment, floodplain sediment (or alluvial soil), residual soil, and humus collected from 26 European countries. High quality and consistency of the data were ensured by using standardised sampling methods and by applying harmonised quality assurance measures during chemical analysis and subsequent data handling stages.

Table : Summary of silica background concentrations from the 26 EU member states

Media

Parameter

Unit

Count

Minimum

Median

Mean

Standard deviation

Percentile 90

Maximum

Si - Silica

Subsoil

SiO2

%

788

0.61

68.0

65.5

17.5

85.6

98.1

Topsoil

SiO2

%

845

1.47

67.7

65.4

16.5

85.6

96.7

Water

SiO2

mg/l

808

0.10

8.03

9.10

6.60

16.0

72.0

Stream sediment

SiO2

%

850

2.50

61.3

60.1

14.9

77.0

94.0

Floodplain sediment

SiO2

%

749

7.90

64.6

62.9

15.3

80.6

100

Geochemical Atlas of Europe; copyright © 2005 the Association of the Geological Surveys of The European Union (EuroGeoSurveys)/ the Geological Survey of Finland.