Different exposure profile of heavy metal and health risk between residents near a Pb-Zn mine and a Mn mine in Huayuan county, South China

Heavy metal contamination of environmental media in mining area is a global major concern because of its potential threat for human health through food chain. However, the comparison of exposure level and health risk is scarce among people living in the vicinity of mining area with different pollution source. In this study, the concentrations of Mn, Cd, As, Pb, Cu, Zn, Cr and Ni in soil, air, water, rice, vegetable, fish, poultry meat and pork from a Pb-Zn mining area and a Mn mining area in Huayuan county, China were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Results showed that the environmental media and foodstuffs in the two areas were contaminated by Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr and Ni. However, the pollution was more serious in Pb-Zn mining area than Mn mining area. The total hazard index (HI) was 6.59 and 4.55 in Pb-Zn mining area and Mn mining area, respectively, indicating a moderate non-carcinogenic risk of local people. As intake via rice ingestion was the predominant contributor to the total HI in the two mining areas, accounting for 25% and 35%, respectively. For Pb-Zn mining area, Cd intake through vegetable consumption and Mn intake via air inhalation appeared to be another two important components contributing to HI. This study highlights the multi-element and multi-pathway exposure assessment to evaluate the potential health risk and emphasizes concerns to reduce As and Cd in agricultural products as well as Mn in air to decrease the detrimental health effects of local resident.

Authors: Du Y, Chen L, Ding P, Liu L, He Q, Chen B, Duan Y. ; Full Source: Chemosphere. 2019 Feb; 216:352-364. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.10.142. Epub 2018 Oct 20.