Bioaccessibility and human health risk assessment of metal(loid)s in soil from an e-waste open burning site in Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana.Chemosphere. 2020 Feb; 240:124909.C
Environmental pollution and human health issues due to unrestricted electronic waste (e-waste) recycling activities have been reported at a number of locations. Among different e-waste recycling techniques, open burning of e-waste releases diverse metal(loid)s into the environment, which has aroused concern worldwide. In human health risk assessments (HHRAs), oral ingestion of soil can be a major route of exposure to many immobile soil contaminants. In vitro assays are currently being developed and validated to avoid overestimation of pollutants absorbed by the human body when calculating total pollutant concentrations in HHRAs. In this study, Cu, As, Cd, Sb, and Pb bioaccessibility in polluted soils (n = 10) from e-waste open burning sites at Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana, was assessed using an in vitro assay, the physiologically based extraction test. A bioaccessibility-corrected HHRA was then conducted to estimate the potential health risks to local inhabitants. The in vitro results (%) varied greatly among the different metal(loid)s (Cu: 1.3-60, As: 1.3-40, Cd: 4.2-67, Sb: 0.7-85, Pb: 4.1-57), and also showed marked variance between the gastric phase and small intestinal phase. The particle sizes of soil samples and chemical forms of metal(loid)s also influenced bioaccessibility values. Using these bioaccessibility values, both the hazard index and carcinogenic risk were calculated. The hazard index was above the threshold value (>1) for 5/10 samples, indicating a potential health risk to local inhabitants.