Main content area

Health risks of environmental exposure to metals and herbicides in the Pardo River, Brazil

Machado, Carolina S., Fregonesi, Brisa M., Alves, Renato I. S., Tonani, Karina A. A., Sierra, Jordi, Martinis, Bruno S., Celere, Beatriz S., Mari, Montse, Schuhmacher, Marta, Nadal, Martí, Domingo, Jose L., Segura-Muñoz, Susana
Environmental science and pollution research international 2017 v.24 no.25 pp. 20160-20172
European Union, United States Environmental Protection Agency, agricultural products, aluminum, ametryn, arsenic, atrazine, cadmium, chromium, cities, copper, diuron, environmental exposure, fish, fish consumption, hexazinone, human health, humans, irrigation, laws and regulations, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, pollutants, public health, risk, river water, rivers, simazine, tebuthiuron, tin, vanadium, water pollution, water supply, water treatment, watersheds, wet season, zinc, Brazil
Mixture of metals and herbicides in rivers may pose relevant risks for the health of surrounding communities. Humans may be exposed to river pollution through intake of contaminated water and fish, as well as irrigated agricultural products. The aim of this study was to assess the human health risks of environmental exposure to metals and herbicides through water and fish intake in the Pardo River. Metals (Al, As, Be, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Mn, Hg, Ni, Tl, Sn, V, and Zn) were analyzed in river water and in edible fish. Herbicides (ametryn, atrazine, diuron, hexazinone, simazine, and tebuthiuron) were analyzed in river water. Seasonal variances were also studied. Aluminum, Cd, Cu, Mn, Pb, and Zn levels in river water were higher than the USEPA benchmarks. Non-carcinogenic risks due to pollutants mixture exposure were above the limit, and carcinogenic risks of As exposure were >10⁻⁶ in the sampling points during the rainy season. Metal levels in fish were lower than the Brazilian legislation and do not pose a threat to public health. Herbicides were detected in four sampling points, with atrazine concentrations (range 0.16–0.32 μg/L) below the Brazilian standard (2.0 μg/L), but above the European Union standard (0.1 μg/L). Considering the water supply needs of cities located in the Pardo River Basin and the persistence of metals and herbicides, the present study indicated that there was a seasonal influence on non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks to human health, especially in the rainy season. Studies for water treatment plants implantation should consider the risks of exposure to persistent substances, in order to protect the population.