Geochemical Contamination, Speciation, and Bioaccessibility of Trace Metals in Road Dust of a Megacity (Guangzhou) in Southern China: Implications for Human Health


Road dust has been severely contaminated by trace metals and has become a major health risk to urban residents. However, there is a lack of information on bioaccessible trace metals in road dust, which is necessary for an accurate health risk assessment. In this study, we collected road dust samples from industrial areas, traffic intersections, and agricultural fields from a megacity (Guangzhou), China, and conducted a geochemical enrichment, speciation, and bioaccessibility-based health risk assessment of trace metals. In comparison with local soil background values, the results revealed a significant accumulation of trace metals, including Zn, Cd, Cu, and Pb in the road dust, which is considered moderate to heavy pollution. Sequential extraction indicated that most trace metals in the road dust were primarily composed of a Fe/Mn oxide-bound fraction, carbonate-bound fraction, and residual fraction, while the dominant fraction was the organic matter-bound fraction of Cu, and the residual fractions of As, Cr, and Ni. The in vitro gastrointestinal (IVG) method revealed that high percentages of Zn, Cd, Cu, and As were bioaccessible, suggesting the possible dissolution of trace metals from adsorbed and carbonate-associated fractions in road dust exposed to the biological fluid matrix. The IVG bioaccessibility-based concentration largely decreased the noncarcinogenic health risk to a negligible level. Nevertheless, the entire population is still exposed to the cumulative probability of a carcinogenic risk, which is primarily contributed to by As, Cd, Cr, and Pb. Future identification of the exact sources of these toxic metals would be helpful for the appropriate management of urban road dust contamination.

Authors: Fei Tang, Zhi Li, Yanping Zhao, Jia Sun, Jianteng Sun, Zhenghui Liu, Tangfu Xiao, Jinli Cui
; Full Source: International journal of environmental research and public health 2022 Nov 29;19(23):15942. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192315942.