Concentrations of Heavy Metal Cations and a Health Risk Assessment of Sediments and River Surface Water: A Case Study from a Serbian Mine
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University of Niš, Faculty of Occupational Safety, Department of Environmental Engineering, Niš, Serbia
University of Niš, Faculty of Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Niš, Serbia
College of Applied Studies, Department of Environmental Chemistry, Vranje, Serbia
Submission date: 2017-12-23
Final revision date: 2018-04-10
Acceptance date: 2018-04-16
Online publication date: 2018-12-11
Publication date: 2019-02-18
Corresponding author
Nenad Živković   

University of Niš, Faculty of Occupational Safety, Čarnojevića, 10a, 18000 Niš, Serbia
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2019;28(3):2009-2020
Mining and processing of metal ores are often significant sources of heavy metal contamination of river sediments. Heavy metal contamination of river sediments resulting from mining and smelting represents a major concern due to the potential risk involved. This study was performed to investigate the content of heavy metal (Cd, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni, Cu, Pb, Hg, As, and Ba) cations in the sediments of the Korbevačka River, the main recipient of all kinds of pollutants from the Pb-Zn Grot Mine, and to estimate the potential health risks of metals to humans. On the basis of the heavy metal cations content, the potential health risk assessment calculated for a lifetime of exposure (ingestion and inhalation), based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) model, was determined as the cumulative noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic risk for children and adults. The study proved that: a) the heavy metal cations content in the Korbevačka River sediments is significant; b) risk assessment indicates that while carcinogenic risk is completely insignificant, cumulative non-carcinogenic risk is significant – especially for children – as it approaches unacceptable values; and c) metal lead is the main concern in regard to negative influence on human health.
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