Health Risks of Heavy Metals Uptake by Crops Grown in a Sewage Irrigation Area in China


Zuwei Wang, Xiangfeng Zeng, Mingshou Geng, Chunyi Chen, Jianchao Cai, Xiaoman Yu, Yingying Hou, Hui Zhang


Ecological risks of heavy metal toxicity such as Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cr, As, and Hg through crops (wheat and rice) grown in the Tianjin sewage irrigation area in northern China were studied in this paper. Wheat and rice samples as well as related soil samples from 77 select blocks were collected. The second grade of standards for Tianjin soil environmental quality was used for soil risk assessment. Chinese National Food Safe Criterion was used for health risk assessment of wheat and rice grains. Daily intake rate and Target hazard quotient were used for the potential health risk assessment of local population through the intake of wheat and rice grown in the sewage-irrigated site. The results showed that continuous application of wastewater has led to accumulation of heavy metals in the soil, and Cd, Zn, and Hg were the main pollutants. Zn and Cd were more mobile than other metals. Pb in wheat and rice had an ecological risk to human health. As and Hg in some rice samples as well as Cd, Zn, and As in some wheat samples had potential risk. Target hazard quotient (THQ) of individual metal was below 1.0, meaning the relative absence of health risks associated with intake of a single heavy metal through intake of either wheat or rice. THQs of As for wheat and rice would sum up to above 1.0, indicating As may pose a risk to the local population by intake of wheat and rice.

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Wang ZW, Zeng XF, Geng MS, Chen CY, Cai JC, Yu XM, Hou YY, Zhang H. 2015. Health risks of heavy metals uptake by crops grown in a sewage irrigation area in China. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies 24:1379-1386.