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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Jun 1;15(6). pii: E1146. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15061146.

Which Compounds Contribute Most to Elevated Soil Pollution and the Corresponding Health Risks in Floodplains in the Headwater Areas of the Central European Watershed?

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Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation, Žabovřeská 250, 15627 Prague, Czech Republic.
Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation, Žabovřeská 250, 15627 Prague, Czech Republic.
Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Masaryk University, Kamenice 753-5, 62500 Brno, Czech Republic.


The main topic of this study is a human health risk assessment of a defined exposure scenario in the floodplain soils of the headwater areas of the central European watershed, with the aim of exploring both multivariate and regional data structures. Flood-prone areas are recognized worldwide to be susceptible to contamination and its redistribution. Contributions of various classes of toxic compounds (organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)) to human health risks were assessed in a screening risk assessment. However, due to the relative nature of our data and a high PAH dominancy over the data ensemble, reliance solely on the standard statistical processing of raw data might lead to incomplete insight into the structure of the multivariate data. Explanatory analysis of the data structure using the compositional approach was found to be beneficial to elucidating human health risk profiles and provided robust evidence that a contrast between agricultural and airborne industrial pollution controlled the whole human toxicological variation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in floodplain soils. These results were effectively quantified with the subcomposition of benzo(a)pyrene, DDT, and alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane (aHCH), allowing for an interpretation of structural differences in regional pollution patterns, which conferred different extents and compositions of human health risks in floodplain soils.


compositional data; floodplain; human health risk; soil pollution

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