Pollution status and human health risk assessments of selected heavy metals in urban dust of 16 cities in Iran.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Jun; 27(18):23094-23107.ES
Urban dust contamination is becoming progressively noticeable, and heavy metals are primary pollutants in urban environments. The contamination of heavy metals in urban dust has been affecting the urban citizens due to their adverse effects on human health, and understanding their effects is a crucial stage for its management. This study is a review of the reports of heavy metal pollution in urban dust of 16 cities in Iran, aimed at determining pollution status and health risk calculation on the nationwide scale, using geo-accumulation index (Igeo), potential ecological risk index (PER), and health risk assessment model. Six toxic elements, namely cadmium, copper, chromium, nickel, lead, and zinc were evaluated in this study. The results presented that the total heavy metal concentrations in the studied cities decreased in the sequences of Zn > Cu > Pb > Ni > Cr > Cd. The average concentrations of Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn in the studied cities exceeded the Iran Standard Soil limits for residential areas. The mean levels of studied heavy metals for cities was in the order of Kermanshah > Tehran > Tabriz > Rafsanjan > Hamedan > Isfahan > Mashhad > Ahvaz > Abadan > Kerman > Bushehr > Kashan > Shiraz > Zahedan > Masjed-e-Soleiman > Arak. The Results of Igeo revealed that the pollution levels of Cd, Cu, Pb, Ni, Cr, and Zn in the studied cities ranged from unpolluted to moderate pollution categorizations. The mean potential ecological risk factor (Eir) values were below (Eri < 40), showing a low ecological risk level. Also, Eir values for all cities showed that Cd, Pb, and Cr had the highest ecological risks than other heavy metals. However, the total potential ecological risk index (RI) values for studied cities were 172.1, showing a moderate ecological risk level. Human health risk assessment evaluation showed that in contrast to adults, children have more possible health risks (non-carcinogenic). Among the multiple pathways of exposure, the ingestion pathway was the most important exposure for both groups of population, followed by skin exposure and then breathing exposure. Total hazard index (HI) values among three exposure routes, were less than harmless level (HI < 1), displaying that there was not a non-carcinogenic risk for both groups of population. Cancer risk (CR) study exhibited that the potential risk of cancer decreases in the order of chromium > nickel > cadmium. The CR ranks of chromium, nickel, and cadmium were less than the maximum permissible level, presented an insignificant carcinogenic risk.