Human health risk from soil heavy metal contamination under different land uses near Dabaoshan Mine, Southern China.Sci Total Environ. 2012 Feb 15; 417-418:45-54.ST
Soil heavy metal contamination is a major environmental concern, and the ecological risk associated with heavy metals is increasing. In this paper, we investigated heavy metal contamination near Dabaoshan Mine by: using sequential indicator simulation to delineate the spatial patterns of soil data; fitting multiple linear regression models for heavy metal uptake by crops; interpreting land uses from remote sensing images and integrating the spatial patterns, uptake models and land uses into a dose-response model for human health risks from heavy metals. The areas with elevated soil heavy metal concentrations are mainly located at the Dabaoshan Mine site and in the watershed basins of the Hengshi, Tielong and Chuandu rivers. The average concentrations of Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb in soil in the study area are all above the natural soil background levels, but Cd is the major contributor to human health risk in the area. Areas of low soil pH are also found throughout the watershed basins of the Hengshi, Tielong and Chuandu rivers. Of the different land use types in the study area, agricultural and residential land uses have the highest human health risk because ingestion is the dominant exposure pathway for heavy metals. The spatial patterns of the heavy metal concentrations and soil pH indicate that the areas with the highest human health risk regions do not directly coincide with the areas of highest heavy metal concentrations, but do coincide with the areas of lower soil pH. The contamination with high concentrations of heavy metals provides the risk source, but the combination of high heavy metal concentrations, low pH and agricultural or residential land use is required for human health risks to be present. The spatial pattern of the hazard quotients indicates that Cd is the most important pollutant contributing to the human health risk.