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Source apportionment and health risk assessment of trace metals in surface soils of Beijing metropolitan, China

Chen, Haiyang, Teng, Yanguo, Lu, Sijin, Wang, Yeyao, Wu, Jin, Wang, Jinsheng
Chemosphere 2016 v.144 pp. 1002-1011
adults, agrochemicals, arsenic, at-risk population, atmospheric deposition, cadmium, chemometrics, children, cities, copper, data collection, females, fertilizers, lead, least squares, mercury, pollution control, probabilistic risk assessment, risk, soil, soil pollution, soil sampling, women, China
Understanding the exposure risks of trace metals in contamination soils and apportioning their sources are the basic preconditions for soil pollution prevention and control. In this study, a detailed investigation was conducted to assess the health risks of trace metals in surface soils of Beijing which is one of the most populated cities in the world and to apportion their potential sources. The data set of metals for 12 elements in 240 soil samples was collected. Pollution index and enrichment factor were used to identify the general contamination characteristic of soil metals. The probabilistic risk model was employed for health risk assessment, and a chemometrics technique, multivariate curve resolution-weighted alternating least squares (MCR-WALS), was applied to apportion sources. Results suggested that the soils in Beijing metropolitan region were contaminated by Hg, Cd, Cu, As, and Pb in varying degree, lying in the moderate pollution level. As a whole, the health risks posed by soil metals were acceptable or close to tolerable. Comparatively speaking, children and adult females were the relatively vulnerable populations for the non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks, respectively. Atmospheric deposition, fertilizers and agrochemicals, and natural source were apportioned as the potential sources determining the contents of trace metals in soils of Beijing area with contributions of 15.5%–16.4%, 5.9%–7.7% and 76.0%–78.6%, respectively.