Lead smelting effects heavy metal concentrations in soils, wheat, and potentially humans.Environ Pollut. 2020 Feb; 257:113641.EP
Cadmium, Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations and distribution in soil, wheat, and the potential for human heavy metal accumulation near a Pb smelting affected area were investigated. Farm land soil, wheat grain and scalp hair samples were collected from three villages (named QD, GF and BS) with increasing distance from a large Pb smelter in China. Soil Cd and Pb concentrations exceeded national standards 46-100% of the time, depending on location. Soil and wheat grain Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations increased as distance to the smelter decreased. Similarly, greater Cd, Cu and Pb concentrations were present in human scalp hair for those residents living closest to the smelter. Decreasing trends existed for hair-to-wheat grain ratios for Cd and Pb as distance to the smelter increased. Results suggest that as distance to the smelter decreases, human heavy metal absorption via the consumption of metal-contaminated food products (e.g., wheat) increases.