Assessment of exposure to heavy metals and health risks among residents near Tonglushan mine in Hubei, China.Chemosphere. 2015 May; 127:127-35.C
Heavy metal contamination due to mining activity is a global major concern because of its potential health risks to local inhabitants. In the present study, we investigated the levels of Cd, Cu, Pb and As in soil, crop, well water and fish samples collected from the vicinity of the Tonglushan mine in Hubei, China, and evaluated potential health risks among local residents. Results indicate that soils near the mine were heavily contaminated with Cd (2.59 mg kg(-1)), Cu (386 mg kg(-1)), Pb (120 mg kg(-1)) and As (35.4 mg kg(-1)), and exceeded the soil quality standard values of Cd and Cu contamination. The concentrations of Cd, Cu, Pb and As in crop samples grown in mine-affected soils were significantly higher than those of the reference soils. The concentrations of Cd and As in most vegetables grown in mine-affected soils exceeded the maximum allowable level (MAL). The Cd, Pb and As concentration in rice grain collected from mine-affected soils were 2.95, 1.85 and 2.07-fold higher than the MAL, respectively. The concentrations of Cd and As in fish muscle from the mine-affected area were above national MAL in 61% and 34% of analyzed samples, respectively. All measured heavy metals except Pb were significantly greater in well water in the mine-affected area than those in the reference areas. The average estimated daily intakes of Cd and As were beyond the provisional tolerable daily intake, respectively. The intake of rice was identified as a major contributor (⩾72%) to the estimated daily intake among the residents.