Soil is a highly complex environmental compartment that has suffered with the contamination of substances of various origins. Among the main activities that affect soil quality are power generation activities that use fossil fuels, such as mineral coal. Environmental protection agencies encourage scientific investigations using tools described in legal devices or standard protocols to evaluate the potential of coal as a pollutant, especially in places that have large reserves of this mineral like the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The aim of this study was to characterize the leached extracts of different soils from an area influenced by coal waste, to classify them according to the guideline values for groundwater described in CONAMA's n. 420/2009, and to estimate the effects of the leachates ingestion in DNA mutation rates. The volume of soil needed to induce a 100% increase in the spontaneous mutation rate varied between 129.3 and 1544.1 mg of soil among the soils studied. Metals such as Mn, Pb, Cd and Ni surpassed the investigation limits for groundwater at least in one soil sample. The results showed that there can be transfer of soil contaminants to groundwater and soil intake in the area could contribute to the increased mutagenic risk.
groundwater; mutagenesis; soil ingestion; risk assessment