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The accumulation and health risk of heavy metals in vegetables around a zinc smelter in northeastern China

Li, Bo, Wang, Yanhong, Jiang, Yong, Li, Guochen, Cui, Jiehua, Wang, Ying, Zhang, Hong, Wang, Shicheng, Xu, Sheng, Wang, Ruzhen
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.24 pp. 25114-25126
Chinese cabbage, arsenic, bioaccumulation factor, cabbage, cadmium, cation exchange capacity, chromium, copper, cucumbers, green beans, greenhouse soils, heavy metals, lead, leaves, mercury, mining, models, organic matter, risk, root vegetables, smelting, soil pH, soil pollution, surveys, tomatoes, vegetable consumption, zinc, China
Mining and smelting activities engender soil contamination by metals severely. A field survey was conducted to investigate the present situation and health risk of heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr, As, and Hg) in soils and vegetables in the surrounding area of an 80-year-old zinc smelter in northeastern China. Soil pH, organic matter (SOM), and cation exchange capacity (CEC) were determined, and their relations with heavy metal contents in edible parts of vegetables were analyzed. Results showed that the smelting had led to the significant contamination of the local soils by Cd and Zn, with average concentrations of 3.88 and 403.89 mg kg⁻¹, respectively. Concentrations of Cd and Zn in greenhouse soils were much lower than those in open farmland soils. Cd concentrations in vegetable edible parts exceeded the permissible limits severely, while other metal concentrations were much lower than the corresponding standards. Leaf and root vegetables had higher concentrations and bioaccumulation factors (BCFs) of Cd than fruit vegetables. Hazard quotient and hazard index showed that cadmium is imposing a health risk to local residents via vegetable consumption. Cd uptake of some vegetables can be predicted by empirical models with the following parameters: soil pH, SOM, CEC, Zn concentrations, and Cd concentrations. Vegetables such as cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomato, cucumber, and green bean were screened out as being suitable to grow in the studied area.