Heavy metal and metalloid concentrations in components of 25 wheat (Triticum aestivum) varieties in the vicinity of lead smelters in Henan province, China.Environ Monit Assess. 2016 Jan; 188(1):23.EM
Soil contamination and human impacts have been reported in the vicinity of lead (Pb) smelters in Henan, China. However, no information is available on crop uptake of soil contaminants near these smelters. Grains, glume, rachis, and stem/leaf samples of 25 wheat (Triticum aestivum) varieties were collected from a small, smelter-impacted agricultural area of Beishe Village, Henan Province, and were analyzed for arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), Pb, and zinc (Zn) concentrations. The study aim was to evaluate the level of contaminant uptake in wheat and ostensibly observe if specific varieties of wheat were more susceptible to uptake. The mean concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn in whole grain flour were 0.0915, 0.192, 3.22, 0.280, and 32.5 mg kg(-1), respectively. Grain concentrations of all 25 varieties for Cd as well as 16 varieties for Pb exceeded the maximum permissible concentrations (MPC) for consumption. Mean pollution indexes (MPI) (element concentration of wheat grain/MPC for As, Cd or Pb) of the grains varied 0.562-2.15. As, Pb, and Cd contributed 5.22, 40.0, and 54.8 % to the MPI for all 25 varieties, respectively. This survey highlights Cd and Pb contamination of wheat grains in the vicinity of lead smelters in Henan Province, and likely other farm villages in the area. Further work is needed to examine uptake and contamination of other crops and vegetables impacted from the lead smelters in Henan Province and the absorption of toxic elements from food sources by local inhabitants.