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Enrichment, spatial distribution of potential ecological and human health risk assessment via toxic metals in soil and surface water ingestion in the vicinity of Sewakht mines, district Chitral, Northern Pakistan

Rehman, Inayat ur, Ishaq, Muhammad, Ali, Liaqat, Khan, Sardar, Ahmad, Imtiaz, Din, Imran Ud, Ullah, Hameed
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2018 v.154 pp. 127-136
adults, agricultural soils, cadmium, children, chromium, cobalt, copper, health effects assessments, human health, ingestion, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum, neoplasms, nickel, risk, soil pollution, surface water, toxicity, zinc, Pakistan
This study focuses on enrichment, spatial distribution, potential ecological risk index (PERI) and human health risk of various toxic metals taken via soil and surface water in the vicinity of Sewakht mines, Pakistan. The samples of soils (n = 54) of different fields and surface water (n = 38) were analyzed for toxic metals including cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn) and molybdenum (Mo). Soil pollution level was evaluated using pollution indices including geo-accumulation index (Igeo), contamination factor (CF), degree of contamination (CD), enrichment factor (EF) and PERI. CF showed moderate contamination of soil with Cd, Co, Fe and Mo, while Igeo values indicated moderate accumulation of Cu. For Cd, EF> 1.5 was found in agricultural soils of the study area. PERI findings presented a very high ecological risk (PERI > 380) at two sites (4%), considerable ecological risk at four sites (7.4%). Non-carcinogenic risk from exposure to Fe in soil was higher than limit (HI > 1) for both children and adults. Moreover, carcinogenic risk postured by soil contaminants i.e. Cd, Cr, Co and Ni in children was higher than their limits (except Pb), while in adults only Co posed higher risk of cancer than the limit (10⁻⁴) through soil exposure. Non-carcinogenic risks in children due to Cd, Co, Mo via surface water intake were higher than their safe limits (HQ > 1), while in adults the risk order was Cr > Cd > Cu > Pb > Co > Mo. Moreover, carcinogenic risk exposure due to Co > Cd > Cr > Ni from surface water (except Pb) was higher than the tolerable limit (1 × 10⁻⁴) both for children and adults. However, Pb concentrations in both soil and surface water exposure were not likely to cause cancer risk in the local population.