ABSTRACT Heavy metal contamination of soils is a widespread problem in Zanjan province located in North West Iran due to natural pedo geochemical background and anthropogenic sources. The province is highly polluted by some heavy metals due to the presence of mineral resources notably Lead and Zinc, their improper utilization, and also the development of a number of related industries. Bonab district was selected for detail study and the objectives of the study were set to evaluate the total as well as bioavailable fraction of heavy metals in surficial soils within the studied area. 72 soil samples were collected and analyzed for heavy metal contamination by Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS). The obtained results when compared with WHO and USEPA standards show a very high concentration of some toxic metals. Soils were basically polluted by Pb, Zn, Cu, and Cd. Bioavailable fraction of studied metals were also measured with formation of metal complex with Diethylene tri amine penta acetic acid (DTPA) agent. To find the share of the anthropogenic sources in the contamination of soils, the Enrichment factor (EF) and Geological Accumulation Index were measured and the distribution maps were drawn using Arc GIS (9.3). Highest concentrations of some toxic metals were found as isolated patches around the Bonab Industrial Town as well as within and around the most populated areas of the district notably Zanjan city indicating its anthropogenic origin.
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