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Assessment of source-oriented health risk associated with the oral ingestion of heavy metals in dust within an iron/steel smelting-affected area of the North China Plain TEXT SIZE: A A A

Heavy metals (HMs) from iron/steel smelting activities pose notable risks to human health, especially to those living around industrial facilities of North China Plain, the base of China's steel production. In this study, 78 outdoor windowsill dust samples were collected around a large-scale iron/steel smelter with more than 65 years of production history in the western North China Plain. Nine HMs were analysed to comprehensively assess the health risks by integrating Monte Carlo simulation, oral bioaccessibility, and source apportionment. Results showed serious pollution with Cd, Pb, and Zn based on their geo-accumulation index values and concentrations. Four potential sources including industrial sources (49.85%), traffic sources (21.78%), natural sources (20.58%), and coal combustion (7.79%) were quantitatively identified by multivariate statistical analysis. The oral bioaccessibilities of HMs determined by the physiologically based extraction test ranged from 0.02% to 65.16%. Zn, Mn, Cd, and Pb had higher bioaccessibilities than other HMs. After incorporating oral bioavailability adjustments, noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic risks were significantly reduced, especially for adults. The mean hazard index (HI) for children and adults was below the safety threshold (1.0), whereas the mean of the total carcinogenic risk (TCR) based on HM bioaccessibilities in the gastric phase remained above the acceptable level (1.0E06) (children: 5.20E-06; adults: 1.16E-06). Traffic sources warranted increased concern as it substantially increased TCR. Cd was identified as the priority pollution in iron/steel smelting areas. Assessing source-oriented health risks associated with oral ingestion exposure can guide the management and control of HM contamination within iron/steel smelting-affected areas.

Publication name

 Environmental Research, Volume 237, Part 2, DOI 10.1016/j.envres.2023.117101, Article Number 117101, Published NOV 15 2023


 Wang, Mingya; Xu, Xiaohang; Han, Qiao; Lin, Xihuang; Yuan, Haijun; Wang, Mingshi; Jiang, Fengcheng; Wang, Wenju

Corresponding author(s) 

 Han, Qiao
 Henan Polytech Univ, Coll Resource & Environm, Jiaozuo 454003, Peoples R China

Author(s) from IGCAS   Xu, Xiaohang

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