Profiles and potential health risks of heavy metals in polluted soils

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

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Profiles and potential health risks of heavy metals in polluted soils in NEIIR, Toxin Reviews, 2021, DOI: 10.1080/15569543.2021.1906706 Published online: 07 Jun 2021


Metal contamination of soil is primarily attributed to human activities and there is an increasing need to conduct risk assessments to characterize the nature and magnitude of risks to humans and ecological receptors from these contaminants.


Trace metals (As, Sb, Cd, Cr, Pb, Co, Ni, V, Se, Zn, Fe) in soils from the Chelpu region were analyzed by ICP-OES to assess pollution using the geo-accumulation index and the enrichment factor. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) model was applied to calculate human health risk (HHR).

Metal concentrations varied considerably

As (7.1–1448.8 mg/kg), Sb (7.7–74.4 mg/kg), Pb (0.6–26.5 mg/kg), Cd (1–2.6 mg/kg), Cr (67.5–527 mg/kg), Co (18.4–42.6 mg/kg), Ni (85.9–548.6 mg/kg), Sr (180.3–670.6 mg/kg), V (85.3–158.4 mg/kg), Se (0.4–3.10 mg/kg), Zn (44.6–104.9 mg/kg), and Fe (29,400–51,800 mg/kg).


Carcinogenic effects through the ingestion pathway were observed for As and Cr in a few soil samples. Organic matter content was significantly correlated with As, Sb, and Se.

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