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Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in the Contaminated and Uncontaminated Soils

Authors: S. A. Nta


Application of health risk assessment methods is important in order to comprehend the risk of human exposure to heavy metals and other dangerous pollutants. Four soil samples were collected at distances of 10, 20, 30 m and the control 100 m away from the dump site at depths of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 m. The collected soil samples were examined for Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd and Ni using standard methods. The health risks via the main pathways of human exposure to heavy metal were detected using relevant standard equations. Hazard quotient was calculated to determine non-carcinogenic health risk for each individual heavy metal. Life time cancer risk was calculated to determine the cumulative life cancer rating for each exposure pathway. The estimated health risk values for adults and children were generally lower than the reference dose. The calculated hazard quotient for the ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact pathways were less than unity. This means that there is no detrimental concern to the health on human exposure to heavy metals in contaminated soil. The life time cancer risk 5.4 × 10-2 was higher than the acceptable threshold value of 1 × 10-4 which is reflected to have significant health effects on human exposure to heavy metals in contaminated soil. Good hygienic practices are recommended to ease the potential risk to children and adult who are exposed to contaminated soils. Also, the local authorities should be made aware of such health risks for the purpose of planning the management strategy accordingly.

Keywords: Health risk assessment, pollution, heavy metals, soil.

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