Tungsten in the former Soviet Union: review of environmental regulations and related research
Nikolay Strigul, Agamemnon Koutsospyros and Christos Christodoulatos

Tungsten is a heavy metal with many industrial, civil and military applications. Currently, there are no environmental regulations in the United States or the European Union addressing tungsten pollution, and published data concerning the environmental effects of tungsten are scarce. In the former USSR, investigation of the toxicological and environmental effects of tungsten began in 1950, and environmental regulations on tungsten pollution were developed. Tungsten was assigned to the third toxicity group (i.e. moderately dangerous chemical compounds) for atmospheric systems in populated areas and for soil, and to the second toxicity group (highly dangerous chemical compounds) for water reservoirs. Maximum allowable concentrations (MAC) established in the former USSR were 0.05 mg L–1 for drinking and practical-use water reservoirs, 0.0008 mg L–1 for reservoirs where fishing is permitted, and 0.15 mg m–3 for air in populated areas. The purpose of this paper is to present a review of the literature published in the former USSR concerning tungsten’s environmental and toxicological behavior. We also examine some more recent studies, conducted in the independent republics, pertaining to environmental regulations; water and soil pollution; plant uptake; human and environmental toxicology; and geochemistry.

Key words: environmental regulations, fate and transport, pollution, toxicology, tungsten

Land Contamination & Reclamation, 17 (1), 189-215 (2009)

DOI: 10.2462/09670513.923

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Article code 923