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Heavy metal pollution in vegetables grown in the vicinity of a multi-metal mining area in Gejiu, China: total concentrations, speciation analysis, and health risk

Yanyan Li, Hongbin Wang, Haijuan Wang, Fei Yin, Xiaoyan Yang, Yongjun Hu
Environmental science and pollution research international 2014 v.21 no.21 pp. 12569-12582
Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis, Coriandrum sativum, Mentha piperita nothosubsp. piperita, arsenic, cadmium, copper, correlation, heavy metals, lead, leaves, mining, planting, pollution, potatoes, risk, sodium chloride, soil, spinach, surveys, toxicity, vegetable consumption, zinc, zucchini, China
A field survey was conducted to investigate the present situation and health risk of arsenic (As), lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) in soils and vegetables in a multi-metal mining area, Gejiu, China. Furthermore, three vegetables (water spinach, potato, and summer squash) containing high metal concentrations were selected to further analyze metal speciation. The results showed that the average concentrations of five metals in soil exceeded the limiting values, and their bioavailable concentrations were significantly positively correlated to the total ones. Heavy metals in the edible parts of vegetables also exceeded the corresponding standards. The leaves of pakchoi, peppermint, and coriander had a strong metal-accumulative ability and they were not suitable for planting. Except the residue forms, the main forms of metals in the edible parts of three selected vegetables were ethanol-, NaCl-, and HAc-extractable fractions for As, Pb, and Cd, respectively; however, Cu was mainly presented as NaCl-extractable and Zn as HAc-extractable fractions. A high proportion of ethanol-extractable As showed that As bioactivity and toxic effects were the highest. Although the total and bioavailable Cd were high in soil, its speciation in vegetables was mainly presented as HAc-extractable fraction, which has a relatively low bioactivity. Lead and arsenic were imposing a serious threat on the local residents via vegetable consumption.