Main content area

Human health risk from Heavy metal via food crops consumption with wastewater irrigation practices in Pakistan

Khan, Muhammad Usman, Malik, Riffat Naseem, Muhammad, Said
Chemosphere 2013 v.93 pp. 2230-2238
Spinacia oleracea, cadmium, chromium, food contamination, food crops, heavy metals, human health, irrigation water, lead, manganese, monitoring, risk, soil, toxic substances, vegetables, wastewater, wastewater irrigation, Pakistan
The current study was designed to investigate the potential human health risks associated with consumption of food crops contaminated with toxic heavy metals. Cadmium (Cd) concentration in surface soils; Cd, lead (Pb) and chromium (Cr) in the irrigation water and food crops were above permissible limits. The accumulation factor (AF) was >1 for manganese (Mn) and Pb in different food crops. The Health Risk Index (HRI) was >1 for Pb in all food crops irrigated with wastewater and tube well water. HRI >1 was also recorded for Cd in all selected vegetables; and for Mn in Spinacia oleracea irrigated with wastewater. All wastewater irrigated samples (soil and food crops) exhibited high relative contamination level as compared to samples irrigated with tube well water. Our results emphasized the need for pretreatment of wastewater and routine monitoring in order to avoid contamination of food crops from the wastewater irrigation system.