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A review of heavy metal pollution levels and health risk assessment of urban soils in Chinese cities



A review of heavy metal pollution levels and health risk assessment of urban soils in Chinese cities



Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 25(2): 1055-1069



This study assessed literature-based data for the period 2006-2016 regarding heavy metal (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Ni, Zn, and Hg) concentrations in soils from 32 Chinese cities and the associated human health risks. The mean concentrations of the eight metals were lower than the soil environmental quality standards in China, but were much higher than the background values for most cities. The enrichment factor (EF) and geoaccumulation index (I geo) values showed moderate pollution levels, possibly influenced by anthropogenic activity for Cd, Hg, Pb, and Zn. The pollution levels in eastern cities were much higher than those in western cities, and heavy metals concentrations in different types of cities followed the order: industrial based cities > more developed cities > metropoles > underdeveloped cities. The human health risk assessment for heavy metals in most cities indicated that non-carcinogenic risks were within threshold values (HI < 1). The total carcinogenic risk due to As, Cr, and Ni in most urban areas was in excess of 1 × 10-5, but was lower than 1 × 10-4. However, in some cities (e.g., Baoji City, Tiyuan City, and Xuzhou City), Ni and Cr have potential cancer risks for both adults and children. Compared to adults, children could be more seriously threatened by heavy metal contamination in soils. In general, we recommend that Cd, Hg, and Pb are selected as priority heavy metals pollutants that require control in Chinese cities.

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Accession: 059399071

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 29134530

DOI: 10.1007/s11356-017-0513-1


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