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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 289; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030289

Accumulation of Heavy Metals in Vegetable Species Planted in Contaminated Soils and the Health Risk Assessment

1
College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, China
2
Department of Environmental Science, Changsha Environmental Protection College, Changsha 410004, China
3
College of Science, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 14 January 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 4 March 2016
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Abstract

The objectives of the present study were to investigate heavy metal accumulation in 22 vegetable species and to assess the human health risks of vegetable consumption. Six vegetable types were cultivated on farmland contaminated with heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Cu, Zn, and As). The target hazard quotient (THQ) method was used to assess the human health risks posed by heavy metals through vegetable consumption. Clear differences were found in the concentrations of heavy metals in edible parts of the different vegetables. The concentrations of heavy metals decreased in the sequence as leafy vegetables > stalk vegetables/root vegetables/solanaceous vegetables > legume vegetables/melon vegetables. The ability of leafy vegetables to uptake and accumulate heavy metals was the highest, and that of melon vegetables was the lowest. This indicated that the low accumulators (melon vegetables) were suitable for being planted on contaminated soil, while the high accumulators (leafy vegetables) were unsuitable. In Shizhuyuan area, China, the total THQ values of adults and children through consumption of vegetables were 4.12 and 5.41, respectively, suggesting that the residents may be facing health risks due to vegetable consumption, and that children were vulnerable to the adverse effects of heavy metal ingestion. View Full-Text
Keywords: heavy metal; accumulation; health risk; vegetable; target hazard quotient (THQ) heavy metal; accumulation; health risk; vegetable; target hazard quotient (THQ)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhou, H.; Yang, W.-T.; Zhou, X.; Liu, L.; Gu, J.-F.; Wang, W.-L.; Zou, J.-L.; Tian, T.; Peng, P.-Q.; Liao, B.-H. Accumulation of Heavy Metals in Vegetable Species Planted in Contaminated Soils and the Health Risk Assessment. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 289.

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