ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Health Risks of Heavy Metals Uptake by Crops Grown in a Sewage Irrigation Area in China
Zuwei Wang1, Xiangfeng Zeng2,4, Mingshuo Geng1, Chunyi Chen3, Jianchao Cai5, Xiaoman Yu2,4, Yingying Hou1, Hui Zhang1
 
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1Tianjin Key Laboratory of Water Resource and Water Environment, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300387, China
2Key Laboratory of Pollution Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Applied Ecology,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, P.R. China
3Center for Environmental Biotechnology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37996, USA
4University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, P.R. China
5Institute of Geophysics and Geomatics, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, P.R. China
Publish date: 2015-05-20
Submission date: 2014-11-30
Final revision date: 2014-12-13
Acceptance date: 2014-12-29
 
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2015;24(3):1379–1386
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ABSTRACT
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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