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J Environ Sci (China). 2012;24(4):690-8.

Health risk assessment of heavy metals in soils and vegetables from wastewater irrigated area, Beijing-Tianjin city cluster, China.

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State Key Laboratory of Reginal and Urban Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China.


The possible health risks of heavy metals contamination to local population through food chain were evaluated in Beijing and Tianjin city cluster, China, where have a long history of sewage irrigation. The transfer factors (TF) for heavy metals from soil to vegetables for six elements including Cu, Zn, Pb, Cr, As and Cd were calculated and the pollution load indexes (PLI) were also assessed. Results indicate that only Cd exceeded the maximum acceptable limit in these sites. So far, the heavy metal concentrations in soils and vegetables were all below the permissible limits set by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China and World Health Organization. The transfer factors of six heavy metals showed the trend as Cd > Zn > Cu > Pb > As > Cr, which were dependent on the vegetable species. The estimated dietary intakes of Cu, Zn, Pb, Cr, As and Cd were far below the tolerable limits and the target hazard quotient (THQ) values were less than 1, which suggested that the health risks of heavy metals exposure through consuming vegetables were generally assumed to be safe.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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