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Contamination of food crops grown on soils with elevated heavy metals content

Dziubanek, Grzegorz, Piekut, Agata, Rusin, Monika, Baranowska, Renata, Hajok, Ilona
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2015 v.118 pp. 183-189
atmospheric deposition, cabbage, cadmium, carrots, cities, food contamination, food crops, heavy metals, home gardens, lead, potatoes, risk, soil, soil pollution, vegetable consumption, Poland
The exposure of inhabitants from 13 cities of The Upper Silesia Industrial Region to cadmium and lead has been estimated on the basis of heavy metals content in commonly consumed vegetables. The samples were collected from agricultural fields, allotments and home gardens in these cities. Cadmium and lead concentrations in samples of soil and vegetables – cabbage, carrots and potatoes were determined. High content of heavy metals in the arable layer of soil in Upper Silesia (max. 48.8 and 2470mgkg−1 d.w. for Cd and Pb, respectively) explained high Cd and Pb concentrations in locally cultivated vegetables which are well above the permissible level. Three exposure scenarios with different concentrations of Pb and Cd in vegetables were taken into consideration. In the Scenario I where the content of heavy metals was equal to maximum permissible level, the value of hazard quotient (HQ) for Pb and Cd was 0.530 and 0.704, respectively. In the scenarios where were assumed consumption of contaminated vegetables from Upper Silesia the value of hazard quotient (HQ) for Pb and Cd was 0.755 and 1.337 for Scenario II and 1.806 and 4.542 for Scenario III. The study showed that consumption of vegetables cultivated in Upper Silesia Region on the agricultural fields, allotments and in home gardens may pose a significant health risk.